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

 

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(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

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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

Television Review – A jam-packed episode of solid storylines for all, with added Darvey gold, in Suits 8.14 “Peas In a Pod”

It’s Valentine’s Day and tonight I had a date with the Suits gang (what more do you need? Well, besides wine!) and I have to say, what a fantastic night it’s been, as season 8B continues to pick up steam, as the strong episodes keep on coming! One of the signs of a great episode of television for me is when it feels longer than the run time and 8.14 certainly packed so much in to its 45 minutes, that it felt much longer!

This week was called “Peas in a Pod” and as is often the case with Suits, it’s a title that described more than one dynamic on the screen, not to mention plenty of other strong storylines included too. There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get straight to it!

Louis Litt rescues Dr Lipschitz for a change!

For years before we ever met him in person, Dr Stan Lipschitz had been saving Louis Litt, helping him navigate the stresses of life, all of which has helped make him the calmer, happier man he is now and it’s because of this, that watching Louis do everything he could to help his friend, while also managing to respect his wishes, was pretty damn satisfying. Sure, for a moment I was excited at the thought that Donna was going to help by going to see him (which, let’s face it, would have been spectacular), but that aside, this was a strong storyline, which in other episodes would have been the highlight. Ray Proscia always plays our favourite therapist (well, it’s hardly a tough choice, is it…!) with such compassion and class and his bond on screen with Rick Hoffman only gets better  with every scene. Hurry back Stan! I think Harvey might need to talk!

Alex Williams gets a satisfying storyline at last! 

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Finally! I’m a big fan of Dule Hill and I have always liked Alex Williams, but I’ve just never really been that invested in his stories and then there was the tedious fight over named partner. So, the fact that this episode gave us so much great content AND a decent storyline for Alex was an unexpected, but very welcome bonus. We were able to see just how decent a person he is. Yes, he’s become embroiled in shady deals for dodgy people in the past, but it’s never been by design and this week saw him trying to do right by his client, while also helping show compassion and understanding to a grieving husband. Plus, we were also treated to more Alex / Gretchen interaction and after her mistake not too long ago, it was lovely to see the two of them back on good terms. She supported him through a difficult case and in return he’s setting her up with his father-in-law! Now, that’s truly fabulous!

Katrina was kicking ass (and no Brian in sight, thank god)!

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Although, overall, I’ve loved 8B so far, the path they’ve taken Katrina down recently has not been enjoyable for me. Ironically, the week where she’s having to help Samantha, who has called in her favour and which could have been fraught with drama, proves to be the most enjoyable, as we were able to see Katrina not only demonstrating she’s a great lawyer, but that she’s grown in confidence and strength, now able to hold her own with Samantha, while being treated like a professional equal by Harvey, who trusted her judgement when he needed to understand the intricacies of Samantha’s fight with Scottie. Bravo, Katrina! Leave Brian in the bullpen. You don’t need him! Seriously….you really don’t need him…..

Samantha vs. Scottie was pretty great television!

Alright, before I talk about all the positives, I have to start with the negative, because it was so damn distracting. Corsets? White corsets? What is it with these two women and white corsets? They even included the scene with Scottie wearing a near identical (and ridiculous) outfit in the “previously on Suits” bit. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. No more crazy fashion statements please, Suits!

Anyway, back to the important things – pitting Scottie against Samantha was certainly fun to watch and I fully admit that I was Team Samantha all the way. I don’t dislike Scottie (and Abigail Spencer is fantastic), but she’s always annoyed me over the years, mainly because she was predominantly written to be running after Harvey and never seemed satisfied that he was trying hard enough. So, seeing her back and it not being for a repeat of her and Harvey’s previous tussles was fun. As Harvey said himself to Donna about his previous dynamic with Scottie – things change. Yes, yes they do, don’t they Mr Specter…..(I’m getting to it, I promise).

Instead, we were able to see two successful, driven, intelligent women go head to head. Peas in a pod? Not quite and was there any doubt that Samantha would win? Not in my opinion, but that didn’t make this any less fun to watch.

It was also a clever way of showing just how much Harvey has changed over the years. In the past he’d have waded in, possibly made it worse and still ended up pissing everyone off. Instead, 8.14 had him trying to be the peacemaker. He cares for Scottie and he admires Samantha and those two emotions motivated him to help resolve this without fireworks…..well, after Donna gave him some more hard truths and motivated him to take action, that is.

I do have one question though – was Samantha a Marine? I’m guessing that wasn’t a literal statement about messing with the wrong Marine, but then again, we learnt in 8.10 that she’s served her country in the past…….Ms Wheeler’s backstory continues to intrigue me!

……..and then of course, there was THE BIG ONE…….

The Darvey emotional pot is starting to boil over!

Well, well, well, this week was certainly interesting from a Darvey perspective! So much was thrown at the audience in just a few scenes. There was subtext as usual, but the key difference this week was that Harvey and Donna’s feelings for each other were not only implied in certain scenes, but also directly addressed in others, all of which culminated in that gloriously angsty elevator moment.

I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s go back to the beginning – right from the “Previously on Suits” we were on notice that Darvey was on the episode’s radar. I mean, that 7.15 Scottie scene was so loaded, it had to come back around, right?! Yet, what I loved most about the Donna / Harvey element of this week’s episode, was that even though I was expecting something, what was delivered was so much more interesting.

I was convinced Scottie coming back was going to be significant from a Darvey perspective and knowing she paid Donna a visit at home had me anticipating a talk in that scene. Yet, while that was just a repeat of their previous interactions (when they talk about Donna’s feelings without actually taking about them), the scenes her presence triggered were so damn good. First, there was Harvey’s “Things change.” Sure, he was talking about his and Scottie’s work dynamic, but his feelings towards her have changed too, which made this comment fun to hear.

Then we had the scene in Harvey’s office, with so much unresolved sexual tension, I could barely concentrate on the dialogue! What were you going to say Harvey? That Donna was always jealous of Scottie? Why would that be? The fact he almost voiced that and the fact she practically dared him to was the content I’ve been waiting for! So much angst in so few seconds. She wanted you to say it Harvey! She needs you to take a risk for her and her frustration at his cowardice was great. I’ve thought Donna was still pissed off with him on some level and seeing that reach the surface for a change was exciting. Plus, surely this moment shows that they’re both aware of their feelings on some level. It’s funny that Donna described Scottie and Harvey as peas in a pod, when it’s really them who are like twins now, both letting fear hold them back now?

Then there was THAT phonemail, which was spectacular! Bravo Scottie for picking up where Mike Ross left off! Their love (yes, that’s right, love) for Harvey has always been what these two women had in common (is that another example of peas in a pod?!) and it was fun to see them have such an honest conversation. We all hope Harvey sees what EVERYONE else sees too. And Donna’s face! Gold. That’s right Donna, everyone knows – literally everyone – well, maybe not your boyfriend, not yet anyway…….

Yet, just when I didn’t think the Darvey content could get any better, we had that final elevator scene. I was ready for seeing Harvey caught off balance by the appearance of Thomas Kessler; of seeing him hurt and confused by his reaction to Donna being with a great guy. Yet, the scene wasn’t about that at all – it was almost THE moment. He almost…..almost……opened up and all thanks to Scottie! Am I frustrated that we didn’t see her call to Harvey, especially when we’d seen the still photo of him on the phone, suggesting maybe…maybe, it was filmed? Damn right I am, but I’m hoping that by keeping this scene from us, they’re saving the moment we get to see Harvey’s feelings for Donna on full display, for a scene in which he voices them to her. Well, that and I hold on to hope of a DVD deleted scene!

Fair play to Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty, whose on-screen chemistry has always been one of the finest aspects of this series. They played this moment so well; so subtle and full of glorious angsty subtext. Harvey’s slightly nervous voice, him shifting on his feet and fidgeting, dipping his head, so clearly awkward and nervous by what he was about to raise. Then there was Donna’s curiosity, turning in to hopeful anticipation. You could feel her hopes rising, thinking that maybe he was actually about to take an emotional step towards her. Damn you Thomas! I think you’re great, but that was the worst timing ever. Donna’s lingering look towards Harvey, as she stood as far from Thomas in that elevator as possible and Harvey’s look of confused pain were the episode highlights for me.

The only minor grumble – the moment Louis asked Donna if she’d told Harvey about Thomas. I know it was mirroring him asking Harvey the same question when he was with Paula (which really made no narrative sense) and it’s true Louis is in the know about her kissing Harvey, but it still felt unnecessary to me.

Has the time come? Are we finally about to step over the Darvey finish line? Dear god, I hope so. I cannot take another 7.16 Darvey Dodge!

…….which leads us to next week……

Looking ahead – that promo is Litt Up!

There are only two episodes left in season eight and there are still some big questions left. The obvious one following the promo for 8.15 “Stalking Horse” is what choice does Donna make? She clearly chooses Thomas, or his interests/her relationship over Harvey (oh, sorry, I meant the firm…..honest). That promo is so reminiscent of 4.15’s “Intent” that I’m already far too excited. We also know Daniel Hardman returns to play some more games before the season ends, so I’m assuming he’s back next week, setting up for whatever finale fireworks they have in store. Can I just have the episodes now? Please?!

Ahh well, only a week to wait. See you then!

Suits continues next week with 8.15 “Stalking Horse” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the US and on Thursday via Netflix in the UK. You can see the promo here: https://youtu.be/qu3O2_8IYtU

(Photos via: Suits USA)

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

See you next week, same day, same place!

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

(Photos from: Suits USA/USA Network)

 

 

 

 

 

Television Review – Dates, Mistakes, Prunies & a Whole Lot of Gambling in Suits 8.12 “Whale Hunt”

It’s Thursday, which here in the UK is Suits night for me (thanks as always Netflix UK!) and after a solid start to 8B last week, I was looking forward to seeing what came next. Before we get in to the detail, one of the big themes across 8.12 was gambling, whether it was Katrina and Brian with their emotions (just no, but I’ll get to that!), Donna with her heart, or Louis and Harvey at the poker table. Some of those gambles paid off and some did not, but overall, this was a strong episode of Suits, which only served to remind me how, although no show can get everything right, I’ll truly miss this one once it comes to an end.

Right, enough of the negativity (well, until I get to THAT Katrina plot line). We have 14 episodes left after all. For the moment, let’s get in to the positives and this week, for me anyway, there were quite a few of them.

Valerie Weiss really knows how to shoot a great looking scene!

If I see that the director of an episode of this show is Valerie Weiss, I start to get excited and that’s simply because her visual taste is just so damn good. Remember that closing shot of Donna and Harvey so near, yet so far? Or the lovely Donna, Louis and a mug of mud moment? Of course you do and this week the tone was set from the very first shot, starting on Donna’s gorgeous shoes and soaring from there, through to the lovely shot of Harvey and Louis sharing that drink, to Donna’s glow throughout. Hurry back Valerie! You’re welcome any time!

Donna takes a risk on love and I am thrilled! 

We knew this was coming for months, but tonight we finally got to see the blossoming of a new romance on the show and I know this statement won’t be popular but, I loved it. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Donna look as excited as we did this week, once she’d realised that Gretchen was right – there was nothing stopping her from dating this great guy, who wanted to take her out. She doesn’t work for him (sure, the firm does, but it works for countless clients), she’s not breaching any ethics (can you hear me, Paula??!) and it’s about damn time we saw her smile like that. Sure, I would have liked Donna and Harvey together long ago (well, more specifically in 7.16), but they aren’t and for the moment, I’m all in for Donna taking us along for the ride as she has some fun!

And let’s face it, Thomas Kessler is a GREAT guy! He’s clearly smart, successful, charming without being sleazy, funny and already seems to have worked out who Donna is and what she needs. The moment he showed he was two steps ahead (like she usually is), having made reservations was a lovely touch – it wasn’t “Hey, I knew you were in to me, so I obviously made plans.” Instead it was “I was hoping you’d change your mind and I think it’s time someone put in the effort for you for a change.” Not only was it pretty sexy, it was also exactly what Donna needed and the tone of her voice as she answered that he was right said it all. This is a woman who’s realising that life is not long (no matter what Harvey thinks), that she’s not getting any younger and that it’s time to put in the effort in to herself and her life. After watching Donna taking care of everyone else’s lives for years, it was about time!

Plus, it can’t be denied that it seemed to be a damn lovely date. I’ve been on some crappy ones and the good ones stand out; where the conversation is easy, where you have things in common and can joke with each other without fear of offending, or being too familiar. Thomas seemed to have done his homework on Donna too and she seemed somehow younger and a little shy, or perhaps thrown by her feelings. A man who knows about theatre – now there’s a keeper (well, for the moment. We have an endgame to get to don’t forget).

Is it moving pretty damn fast? Yes, but they aren’t in their 20s, or even 30s, where perhaps playing the game is part of the fun for some people. They are older and know what they want and I loved Thomas’s direct approach about wanting to lay his cards on the table about his feelings (take note, Harvey) and that last scene truly made me smile. Is he being set up as too perfect? The perfect juxtaposition to a certain poker player with so many complicated flaws? I’d still go all in and say yes, but for now, I’m going to enjoy this storyline. It’s something new and it’s giving us a chance to see Donna in a new situation and that’s fine by me.

Harvey & Louis work out their issues over poker & prunies!

First it was couples therapy and now Harvey is enjoying a nice cold (caffeine free?!) prunie with Louis?! What on earth is happening?! Harvey  and Louis’s complex relationship has always been a highlight of Suits for me, but I’ve always enjoyed them most when they are on the same team, as friends and colleagues. It’s a genuinely lovely dynamic and 8.12 showcased it perfectly.

We started off seeing Louis call a truce after the strains of last week and offering the olive branch to Harvey in the best way possible – by giving him permission to do what Harvey does best (well…..until he messes it up….). We then had the inevitable rivalry, leading to the clashing of egos, followed by them making up. Honestly, as Dr Lipschitz pointed out, this is a relationship and like any other, it needs to be worked on! The poker scenes were great fun, especially once Harvey decided he really didn’t give a toss about landing the client (he seemed a bit dull anyway) and gave beating Louis his full attention.

Was he a douchebag to Louis (or as Louis put it “an equal opportunity asshole”)? Was it reminiscent of the Harvey of early years, bullying him to boost his own ego? Yes on both counts, but what was different and highlights just how much they’ve both changed was that, after a kick up the ass (I’ll get to Queen Gretchen), they could move forward. Harvey actually apologised (I’m still waiting for him to do the same to Donna, but I’ll take what I can) and so did Louis and hearing them each acknowledge what a brilliant lawyer the other was, was a genuinely lovely moment. And over a prunie no less. Last week popcorn with Robert, this week prunies with Louis. What’s next Harvey? Going with Gretchen to her weekly mahjong game (actually, that would be hilarious)?! You know you could have been going home with Donna by now…..right?! In the meantime, I hope this brotherly relationship continues.

All hail Queen Gretchen! 

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I love Gretchen! I loved her from the minute Aloma Wright appeared in season five. You just knew she was going to be fantastic and Whale Hunt was one of my favourite episodes for her so far. Not only did she encourage Donna to put herself first for a change and leave the children to fight, while she got her freak on, but she kicked Harvey’s ass! It’s true, she’s a better match for Louis when it comes to who she works for, but I admit I’ve missed her interactions with Harvey from season five and seeing her hand him his ass in his own office, while also managing to drop in to conversation that Donna was off enjoying herself (I wonder why they did that……*cough* Darvey endgame *cough*), was glorious! Who didn’t love the visual of adult Louis and Harvey in bunk beds?! Don’t you dare retire any time soon, Gretchen!

Alex & Samantha are actually getting along and it’s a surprisingly enjoyable! 

I’ve made no secret of the fact that the “Whose name is going up on the wall” rivalry plot line drove me mad and so finally seeing Alex and Samantha getting along was rather refreshing. Will I ever care about them the same way as I care about Donna, Harvey and Louis? No, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in them and this week made a change from the shouting and aggression of 8A. It was also fun to see Alex caught in the middle between two confident, successful career women! His trepidation about getting caught in the cross fire made me like him more. He knows how good they both are, respects their ambition and wants to get the hell out of the way! No thinking he’s better than them, no presumption that he can resolve their issues for them because he’s a man. He respected them enough to let them get on with it! Bravo Alex!

Gambling with Katrina’s character is NOT good entertainment

……..Then we come to the storyline negatives and they all revolve around one horrible gamble, which ended in total disaster and that’s Katrina taking a chance on being able to work with Brian without complications. You should have cashed in your chips and gone home before it was too late Katrina………

I really really don’t like this storyline.

It was one of the points on my fears list for 8B before the series returned. Katrina is a wonderful character and Amanda Schull has always played her brilliantly, right from the start when she was the bitchy associate putting down the mighty Rachel Zane! So far season 8 was doing some if its best work when it came to Katrina – seeing her struggle with the pressure of being a woman wanting to climb the ladder in what remains a man’s arena, hearing her painfully voice her confusion about the aspects of her life that may still be lacking and seeing her navigate new ground by actually making a friend. There is so much they could be exploring with her, but what do they choose? Another storyline around potential cheating and infidelity! Come on! Enough already. We get it. Everyone in this show has to have a cheating story, but NOT Katrina and Brian. Plus, just when I didn’t think my stomach could turn more after the perfume sniffing scene, we then had the almost kiss while he’s holding the baby he’s recently had with another woman?! NO NO NO!! To be honest, it’s just as offensive as the therapist dating her patient story decision.

I’m not sure what the point of this is, but enough already. You’re ruining two lovely characters. Stop it!

…………….

So, that’s it for another week. What’s on the horizon in 8.13, entitled “The Greater Good”? It seems Stu is in trouble with the SEC following the questionable actions he did to help Harvey / the firm in season 7 and Sean Cahill is either going to turn a blind eye, or bring even more trouble. Oh and then I’m guessing we’ll have Donna arriving late for work after her night and Harvey’s life will get a whole lot more painful! One thing about Suits – it’s never dull! You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/lsaoTvTfiZw

See you next week!

Suits season 8 continues next week on Wednesday night on USA Network in the US and on Thursday in the UK via Netflix.

(Photos: USA Network/Suits USA)

 

Television Review – The gang is back! Suits 8.11 “Rocky 8”

Welcome back to the crazy world of Suits folks! When season 8 arrived last year, I wondered whether the show would adapt to the changes that would inevitably be needed, following the departures of Mike and Rachel and I was pleasantly surprised that, overall, 8A was quite a decent run. So, where did we leave things last September? Robert Zane had been considering that life was short, Harvey seemed to think life was long, Donna & Harvey’s relationship went from one extreme to the other and Louis became Managing Partner!

And so begins the reign of Louis Litt and what a fun start it was! Overall, I found 8.11 (despite its rather ridiculous title) to be a fun, light, promising start to these back six episodes of season 8. With the news that season 9 will sadly be the last (and a shortened ten-episode season too), it was bittersweet to sit down and enjoy the start to this run, knowing there’s not long left. I’ll miss this show when it’s gone.

Anyway, back to the present!

Louis takes the reigns of the firm and of Harvey…….!

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Ahhh Louis, I do love you! Rick Hoffman deserves a lot of credit for this fabulous character, who we’ve seen experience every possible emotion and to see him dancing his way around the newly-named (enough with the name changes, guys) Zane, Specter, Litt, Wheeler, Williams was a lot of fun. Yes, it’s bonkers and totally unrealistic (I’ve certainly never seen any law firm partners behaving this way!), but the early days of Suits always had a balance of silly and serious and I’ve felt that’s been lost in recent years. No, Jessica wouldn’t act that way, but Louis isn’t Jessica. He’s always been simply himself and it was an entertaining start and just when I thought I wouldn’t laugh more, there was the scene between Louis and Harvey! I needed a good laugh and that interaction certainly delivered! Gabriel Macht doesn’t have many opportunities in this role to showcase his comedic side and scenes like this one are a refreshing change to Harvey’s usual deadpan mood. I’m astonished he was able to keep a straight face (oh to see the outtakes)!

It wasn’t all fun and frolics though, as we also saw the difficulties that come with being at the top, difficulties that Harvey never enjoyed when he was in the hot seat. Caught between being in charge and not wanting to rock the boat, Louis tries to dodge his responsibilities as leader, leaving everyone to their own devices. It’s understandable, but couldn’t last and it’s Donna who has to act, this time as a sledgehammer instead of velvet glove when letting Louis know he’s doing a poor job. I may not have liked her approach (more on Donna later), but the message was accurate. Sometimes you can’t lead and be everyone’s best friend. It’ll be interesting to see how Louis fares for the rest of 8B. Personally, I hope he shines. He’s earned it!

Has Harvey finally found his place again?

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You couldn’t help but notice in 8A that Harvey Specter had lost his mojo. He seemed adrift in the place he’s been most at home for years. The loss of Mike, on top of Jessica’s earlier departure, the end of his attempt at a relationship (wrong woman Harvey) and the destabilising effect of his brother’s marital breakdown all combined to see Harvey lost and unhappy. I didn’t really like it at all and one of the highlights of 8.11 for me was seeing Harvey getting back in the ring (literally too, which should really happen weekly). Having  the case be about boxing, one of his passions, was a smart move as it allowed him to truly have fun while also trying to bring Andrew Malik down, as payback for him ruining Jessica’s reputation (although, PSL’s press release didn’t help with that either, Harvey….). Without Mike by his side, it was time for him to team up with Robert Zane and their bromance continues to flourish. First burgers, then drinks, now popcorn and a movie at Harvey’s place? Surely, there’s someone else you’d rather be spending this much personal time with Harvey???? Come on now! Talk some sense in to the man, Robert, I beg you!

Katrina stops letting people push her around! 

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I knew that Katrina helping Alex defeat Samantha in 8.10 would come back to bite her! Thankfully though, it seems a persistent feud between two women is off the table, with Katrina standing up to Samantha’s bullying tactics, with a little help from Donna. Not every lawyer wants to walk the thin line between legal and illegal, Samantha! It wasn’t only Ms Wheeler who met the new Katrina either, as she also made clear to Alex that she would never be put in that position again. Well done, Katrina. She continues to grow in this show and I love it.

It’s ladies night (can I come?!)

 

I had been a little worried that 8.11 would see bitchy women in the workplace, but thankfully the conflicts between Samantha and Katrina were resolved by the end of the hour and just in time for cocktail hour for the ladies of the firm. I’m just sorry we couldn’t watch them out on the town!

Alex and Samantha’s annoying rivalry is over (well, for now at least)

Thank God! The “whose name is going on the wall” plot line is at an end! That really did drag on, didn’t it? This opener marked a new start for the firm’s two newest named partners and their first scene of 8B was one of the episode’s highlights for me. Their competitiveness was still there, but in a fun way, while at the same time, it highlighted the difficulties both women and those from a minority background face when trying to rise in to positions of power. More of these two working together please!

Welcome to the madness, Thomas Kessler!

 

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We’ve known for quite a while that 8B would also see the introduction of a new love interest for Donna and 8.11 saw the introduction of the man himself, one of Louis’s oldest clients, Thomas Kessler and the inclusion of this man has certainly caused much fiery debate in the Suits fandom. My first thoughts? I think he’s great! Confident, without being arrogant (it’s not attractive, guys, trust me), witty, charming and seemingly a decent man too! Should he have backed off as soon as she turned him down? Not necessarily. It was immediately obvious she found him attractive (you couldn’t miss her expression when she first saw him) and she readily admitted that she would have said yes to a date if there was no connection to the firm, so his advances weren’t unwelcome (far from it), just unworkable for her (for now anyway – we’ll have to see what changes her mind). Plus, I liked that he was clear about feelings – he’s interested and he’d like her to reconsider, but won’t push again if she still says no. That’s fair. He should give Harvey and Donna lessons in expressing themselves!

 

Do I wish Donna and Harvey had danced off in to their future in the season seven finale, rather than the writers opting for the most obvious Darvey dodge? Of course, but I’ve moved past it for the sake of my sanity! I’ve already set out my thoughts on Darvey separately for anyone interested, but the short version – I believe we’ll get there by the end and this new relationship for Donna might be exactly what they both need to finally come together. In the meantime, I’m all for Donna having some fun with a decent guy. They’re both adults. She isn’t his lawyer, so she isn’t working for him (sure, she’s COO of the firm, but she’s not the one who’ll be providing him the services he’s paying the firm to deliver), so why not? Maybe it’ll make Harvey think twice about focussing all his energy on convincing Robert Zane to come round to Netflix and chill!

………

It would be impossible to not have some grumbles when watching any hour of television (well, unless it’s season 2 of The West Wing perhaps) and 8.11 did throw up some areas that I didn’t particularly like and as much as I hate to say it, they all related to Donna and Darvey……

Enough of the out of character Darvey & Donna moments!

Let’s start with the obvious – I love the character of Donna Paulsen and Sarah Rafferty’s performance is always fantastic. However, the aspects of 8.11 that I found myself grumbling about all revolved around our favourite redhead.

First, we had her waiting for Harvey at reception. For two hours? Really? How does that work? She brought him coffee, found he wasn’t in, so waited by the entrance for him to arrive, or does she have security in the lobby call her when he’s in the elevators and she comes hurrying out to meet him? Either way, it just seemed strange to see her waiting there, with cold coffee. Then him asking her to help him by reheating his coffee?! What on earth was that about? That’s not Darvey. That was never Darvey! Their relationship was all over the place in 8A and this scene just added to the strangeness. Perhaps this was to juxtapose her interaction with Harvey, with her flirty banter with Mr Kessler? This week it’s cold coffee, Harvey, soon it’ll be an emotional bucket of ice when you see her with Mr Smooth……

As for her banter with Thomas, as I’ve already said, I like him and I liked the freshness he’s bringing to the show. I could focus on being disappointed about Darvey, but the truth is, for me the scenes between Donna and Kessler had a freshness to them that was very welcome. We’ve hardly ever seen Donna flirty with anyone else and now she’s feeling more confident in her new role, it was fun to watch her showcase how great she is at it, while also allowing herself to flirt with a man who she knows immediately is attracted to her. Donna has always known she’s a desirable woman and I’m all for her enjoying that. My one complaint in all of this – calling a client “stupid” was just, well, stupid. Sure they were exchanging banter in his office and he was clearly enjoying it, but answering the phone to him later with “Hello stupid” was unprofessional and out of character for Donna. It was more a line to say to your husband. She knows he isn’t Harvey, right?

Finally there were her harsh words to Louis. Yes, he was doing a bad job and yes he needed to be told, but I think the Donna from a few years ago would have handled that much better. I see what they’re doing, throwing in that obvious parallel to Harvey’s crass comment to her in 8A about putting her in her job and I did like that she had enough self awareness to recognise she crossed a line in her approach with Louis, apologising to him in the way I’m guessing she’d like Harvey to apologise to her, but it did make me worry a little about the Donna we’re going to see for the next five weeks. Successful women don’t need to be hard, Suits writers. Let’s not reinforce that misconception through one of my favourite characters.

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So, all in all, I thought this was a strong start to this all too short run. With so many familiar faces returning over the next few weeks, there’s clearly going to be a bumpy road ahead and what will Donna’s love life do to Harvey. Everything? Nothing at all? Who knows at this point with these two idiots, but I’m excited to find out!

Suits continues next week, with episode 8.12 “Whale Hunt” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the US and on Thursday via Netflix in the UK. You can watch the promo here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmpQ1to9qY8

(Photos via: Suits / USA Network)

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

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

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

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

Alex vs. Samantha – Part 2

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

Samantha Wheeler’s history continues to unfold

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

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

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

Congratulations to Louis Litt!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The frustrating Darvey dance continues (insert deep sigh here)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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