After last week’s strong season opener, I was excited to see if the second episode in this final season of Suits would meet my raised expectations and the good news is that, overall, Special Master did indeed suggest that the cast and creative team of my favourite series are giving everything they’ve got to this last run.
There is lots to talk about in this week’s episode, so let’s get started!
Introducing Faye Richardson & she certainly makes her mark!
Having seen her arrive at the end of last week’s season premiere, this week saw the NY Bar’s Special Master wasting no time at making her presence felt in the halls of Zane Specter Litt Wheeler Williams. And first order of business was stripping that first name from the wall. The introduction of Faye gives the series an opportunity to do something a little different when it comes to threats against the firm. This time it isn’t someone dirtier or shadier than any of our favourites, it is someone who is in the right! Ever since the show began, we may have loved these characters, but they tend to live in the grey, justified by the fact that, usually, those they are against are far worse. Now, Faye Richardson is here, in her words, to help them to “fly right.” Ultimately, it’s for their benefit if they want the firm’s reputation to survive intact!
And what an entrance she makes! Denise Crosby is superb in this role, immediately standing her ground with Harvey, Samantha and truly putting Louis Litt in his place on an epic scale. The scene in which she dresses him down in the kitchen, in front of anyone within earshot, was brilliantly acted by both Crosby and Rick Hoffman and had me cringing in pain for Louis. We’ve seen Harvey and Jessica lay down the law to him before, but this was brutal. As first impressions go, she’s absolutely going to be a character I love to dislike, while relishing all the tension she stirs up!
Louis Litt reaches boiling point!
The versatility of Rick Hoffman has been one of the most consistent aspects of Suits from very early on and he continues to impress week on week and 9.02 was another rollercoaster for Louis Litt, who by the end of the hour was displaying some of his worst traits, as he seemingly reached boiling point in his personal battle with Faye Richardson. Before that though, we were treated to what I love most about Louis – his unique blend of ridiculousness and kindness, when interacting with his friends.
I admit, the opening scene was perhaps a little too bonkers for me. I mean, sure, Louis is one of a kind, but even he isn’t as stupid as he was coming across when, for the second episode running, he was missing the obvious when it came to Donna and Harvey’s new status. It did feel a tiny bit too OTT, but as it’s Louis, I’ll let it go and the scene was worth it for the look of sheer horror that appears on Harvey’s face on seeing Louis’s outfit!
Yet, this isn’t the best Louis scene this week. Who needs a cat fair, or mudding, when Alex Williams is there to take you bowling! Honestly, from the moment I saw behind the scenes pictures from this shoot, I have been looking forward to seeing Hoffman take his character bowling and it was just as much fun to watch as I’d hoped (and we learnt about yet another childhood trauma. Poor young Louis really did suffer)! It was also a great opportunity to see another side to Alex Williams, who has remained rather serious since he arrived. Plus we got to enjoy seeing Dule Hill tap dance on screen too!
And if that wasn’t enough, we were also treated to Louis mixing genuine affection, with inappropriateness, with Donna, by letting her know how happy he is for her and Harvey, while also fishing for details about their sex life! Oh Louis, never change!!!
Yet, channelling his rage by knocking pins down didn’t last long and soon poor Benjamin (it was so good to have David Reale back!) bore the brunt of the managing partner on the verge of exploding under the weight of the humiliation he was feeling and sure, Faye is right, but did she really need to so publicly embarrass Louis and seem to enjoy it?! With the episode ending with him stripped of his title and position, it’ll be interesting to see which sides of Louis Litt’s personality are on display next week.
Harvey Specter’s incredible emotional development continues to astonish me!
I’ve said many times over my reviews of Suits, that one of the most exciting elements for me has been watching the character development of Harvey Specter. The odd stumble aside (I’m looking at you 7.01), he has gradually been becoming a more emotionally accessible man and now that he’s taken the next step with Donna, his transformation is complete, which was never more evident than in this week’s episode. More than ready to tell Louis last week, he was perfectly at ease breaking the news in 9.02 (his friend’s clothing the only thing causing him anxiety in that scene!), and was also able to speak rationally to Samantha when her knee-jerk reaction to Faye’s arrival was to jump ship. Plus, when it came to Donna, he was able to not only sense her worries about him becoming Thomas’s lawyer, but give her the type of reassurance that she usually provides to him.
Yet, the finest, most satisfying, character moment so far for Harvey was, in what was probably my favourite scene of 9.02, his meeting with Donna’s ex. He was rational, calm and mature, treating this man, who he knows is principled and decent, with respect. And the moment Thomas asked him the same question he’d put to Donna in last season’s finale, Harvey didn’t hesitate, simply pausing ever so briefly, the smallest of sympathetic expressions on his face (knowing that this is not going to be easy for the other man to hear), before freely speaking the truth Suits fans have known for years – that Donna is the most important person in his life and that not only does he now know it, but she does too.
I admit, I was speechless at this scene, played so well by Gabriel Macht and Sasha Roiz. Two men, treating each other with respect and maturity in a situation that could have gone very differently and seeing Harvey so utterly calm and happy to let anyone know how in love he is, was one of my highlights of all the seasons so far.
Meanwhile Donna took responsibility for her choices
The main focus of this week’s episode may have been on other storylines, but the strength of 9.02 was that everyone had a few significant scenes (although I’d have liked more Katrina) and when it came to Donna, it was fantastic to see her be confronted with the guilt she clearly feels about breaking Thomas Kessler’s heart. Personally, I didn’t really like their break-up scene last week, so it was lovely to see Roiz back again this week and as well as the superb scene with Macht, I also loved what I assume will be his last moments with Sarah Rafferty as Donna.
The scene was played with the perfect balance of emotions. These are two people that clearly had a spark and who, had Harvey never been in the picture, could very likely have ended up together. Seeing the way they slip in to light banter to cover up how hard the situation is for both of them, was lovely to watch and I did feel sympathy for Thomas, as he gazed at the woman he clearly could see a future with, while knowing it wasn’t to be. I’m not surprised he changed his mind about staying with the firm!
The episode also saw Donna take responsibility, to some extent, for the choice she made at the end of last season, which ultimately resulted in the arrival of the Bar’s spy. Seeing her lay the truth out to Faye in such an emotionally honest way was one of the week’s highlights and Rafferty demonstrated yet again why Donna has become such a special character within this series.
Samantha helps a friend in need, as the show raises the importance of talking about mental health.
I had been hoping we’d learn more about Samantha’s military service in this season, as it fascinates me that the woman we see now had this kind of backstory and this week we saw a further glimpse in to her past, through the introduction of her friend, who she also served alongside during her four years in the service. Yet, this storyline served a much more important purpose – raising the subject of mental health and how important it is for anyone struggling to ask for help. Seeing someone as strong as Samantha openly acknowledge her struggles and that she’d needed to seek support, as a way to help her friend suffering from PTSD, was so important to see on television. In a world where so many people are still suffering in silence, most shows should be addressing this topic.
We’re already talking about 9.03! Can time slow down? This season is going too fast.
Next week is directed by Gabriel Macht and is called “Windmills” which could mean anything, although the first thing I thought of was the phrase “tilting at windmills,” used to refer to someone battling an imaginary enemy. Is this the start of them realising that Faye perhaps isn’t the bad guy after all? That seems doubtful, seeing as she’s just demoted Louis! What else do we know? The promo suggests Louis is leaving, but I assume that’s a rouse, as although I can see him moving on, I don’t think that’ll happen until later in the run. The synopsis lets us know that Harvey takes a case to make a point to Faye. If we get similar scenes between Crosby and Macht as we did between her and Rick Hoffman this week, I’ll be very happy indeed. Finally it also seems as though something is getting between Donna and Harvey and this new emotionally aware Harvey isn’t happy about it. Good for you Harvey. I’m proud of you!
I’d say I can’t wait, but actually, I’m more than happy for this last run to take as long as possible!
Suits season 9 continues next week with 9.03 “Windmills” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the USA. This week’s episode arrives on Netflix in the UK tomorrow (Friday), which seems to be the new regular slot for this last season. You can watch the promo for 9.03 here: https://youtu.be/VU08Ww6XDRA