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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Louis happy at long last! 

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

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

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

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

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

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Don’t mess with the women of Specter Litt!

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

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

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

Even more of TV’s greatest bromance! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I haven’t seen this before! Oh…wait….

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

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

Speaking of the finale…..

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Television Review – Hard Truths all round as Suits returns!

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When it comes to my favourite television shows I have been facing my own hard truths this week, after finally watching the very-likely end to The X-Files (watch this space if you want to know my thoughts about that, but be warned, it ain’t pretty). With that in mind, I took a deep breath before pressing play on Netflix today to watch the brand new episode of my current favourite series, having waited over six months to see the consequences of the mid-season finale.

Unlike the overwhelming sense of frustration and disappointment I felt with The X-Files, episode 7.11 of Suits left me feeling excited for this all too brief run of six episodes, that will close out season seven! There was so much great material in “Hard Truths” it’s difficult to know where to start…..okay….maybe it’s obvious where to start……

A kiss with LOTS of consequences!

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So, many of us have been waiting anxiously for months to find out the aftermath of Donna’s impulsive, but inevitable, kiss and it seems Harvey has been standing frozen to the spot for the last six months too, with 7.11 starting right where it left off, with him standing in Donna’s office in shock.

Seeing Harvey’s emotional side develop has always been one of my biggest wishes for the series and 7A was very frustrating watching him seemingly go backwards in that department. Now, Donna’s actions are forcing him to face some of his own hard truths, which will likely play out over the next few weeks – how that kiss made him feel about Donna; what those feelings say about his relationship with Paula; how he feels about Donna saying she actually didn’t feel anything after all (yeah, right) and that’s just the headliners!

Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty are always superb together (they are the only pair to ever excite me the way David and Gillian did on The X-Files) and they had so many fantastic scenes in this hour – arguments; pettiness; an actual conversation about their history and blurred lines and the fragile re-setting of their friendship. The fact that the lovely little hug they shared was only shown from a distance gives me hope that we’ll get a juicier close up of something later down the 7B road. Their storyline had logical, realistic progress and that’s very exciting to see. Long may this continue.

Mike & Rachel – a great team, professionally and personally

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I’ll miss Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle when they leave the show, as their relationship has always been one of the loveliest constants of this series. No matter what has been thrown at them, their relationship has survived and seems stronger than ever.

This week gave Mike and Rachel the chance to realise the importance of the other in their lives. They know each other so well and when they work together, they’re a strong team (sound like another pair on the show…). Will they leave to set up their own clinic, travel the world to help important causes? Who knows, but with both actors leaving, a happy ending is clearly the only choice and the scene is being set for them to go off as a united force to be reckoned with, which is fine with me!

Louis Litt – the voice of reason…..(how long will this last?!)

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Rick Hoffman had by far the strongest run of episodes in 7A, with Louis having quite an emotional time across the ten episodes. It was refreshing to see him as the voice of reason this week, first wanting to talk calmly and clearly with Harvey about Jessica the moment he heard, then trying to do all he could to help secure a dignified exit for a woman he has always admired, before presenting the hard truth to Harvey that there was no easy solution. He even had time to give Donna some sensible advice about her situation with Harvey. Clearly his therapist is good for him. Perhaps that’s because he’s providing him therapy and not adding to the reasons why he needs therapy, unlike his fellow named partner! Bravo Louis! Now, you just need to go and get Sheila so we can see you basking in happiness.

Paula Agard facing her own hard truth – professional codes of conduct are there for good reason! 

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Oh, Paula, I really do want to feel sympathy for you and maybe I do a little. I mean, we’re all human and fallible and you’ve clearly had some tough times with guys in the past. I understand you wanting to meet a decent guy, who treats you with respect. The big problem – it should never have been your former patient, Harvey Specter!

This episode had Paula yet again acknowledging Harvey and Donna have feelings for one another and that’s BEFORE she learns about their history! It was interesting to see Harvey do exactly the same thing in 7.11 as he did in 7.01; make a knee-jerk decision involving Agard as a result of Donna’s actions. In the former it was randomly turning up at her house, saying she’s all he wanted in life (please, that scene is still the most ridiculous in seven seasons) after Donna said she wanted more. Now, it’s asking her to move in, after two months, after Donna kisses (and confuses him). I get it Harvey, you don’t want a relationship like your parents, one that fails, causing hurt and pain, so you are terrified of trusting your feelings.

I just hope he faces another hard truth soon – that being with someone for the wrong reasons will only lead to heartbreak later, which is exactly what happened with his parents. Hey! Maybe I could be his therapist!

The hardest truth of all – Harvey & Jessica will never be the same again 

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I may have tuned in to this episode expecting all the emotional weight to come in the Darvey scenes and there was certainly rich material there, but, by far, the biggest emotional punch for me this week was what happened to Jessica. Not only did she take the bullet for Harvey at Mike’s hearing, only to have Mike and Harvey’s testosterone-fuelled game with Malik cost her her license in NYC, but now, we have to see her friend throw her under the bus in such a brutal way.

Yes, there perhaps was no other way to solve their immediate problems, but I’m not sure I could ever do to a friend, especially one who was as important to me as Jessica was to Harvey, what Harvey did here. The wording of that press statement was damning – (“selfish,” “reckless,” “unethical,” “disgraceful chapter,”) and as Harvey admits, is describing him and his actions, not the woman who gave him his big chance and has been closer than family for years.

Gabriel Macht was superb in the final scene with Rick Hoffman, as he signs his name to ruin the reputation of his mentor. His voice cracking slightly in the voiceover was a lovely touch too. Good luck getting over that guilt Harvey! We were all worried about how Harvey and Donna would move past the kiss. The bigger question now for me, is how Jessica will be able to forgive Harvey for this. Yes, she can use it as leverage, but I can’t see their friendship (always a Suits highlight) coming through this without some serious cracks.

Bad Man next week……

I assume this is referring to Louis and his involvement with Sheila, but it could be a reference to Harvey’s decision this week, resulting in Jessica demanding some shady request for money (if she’s getting in to the political world, shady dealings makes sense). What really matters though, is that Hard Truths was one of the strongest mid-season openers the series has had and I’m incredibly optimistic about what lies ahead. Maybe the creator and writers really do have a master plan after all (unlike the guy running the show I mentioned at the beginning of this review)! Is it next Thursday yet?!

Suits season 7 continues next week with Bad Man on Wednesday night in the USA and Thursday via Netflix in the UK.

 

Television Review – Suits 7.05 “Brooklyn Housing”

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I’m catching up with the latest episode of Suits a little later today, thanks to the terribly slow upload speed of Netflix UK. However, now I’ve watched it a couple of times, I thought I’d give my thoughts, as I’ve been doing for the previous episodes of this seventh season.

Did I enjoy Brooklyn Housing?

Yes and no. Overall, it was a strong episode of Suits and reminded me a lot of earlier episodes in its run. We had Harvey kicking ass at work, Mike showing what a great (now legal) lawyer he is, Louis showing the best side of his quirky personality and Donna and Rachel providing voices of reason when most needed. The episode did however give me concerns as to the direction the writers are potentially taking certain characters and storylines and if I’m proved right, I will be thoroughly disappointed.

I’ll start with the positives……

We are all proud of you Louis Litt!

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For the fifth week running, the strongest element of Suits at the moment remains Louis Litt and Rick Hoffman’s superb portrayal of him. He may have had a bumpy start this year, but Louis is really starting to show true growth and I’m excited to see where he will end up. As the weeks tick on, the view I had in season 6 that he would be better in charge than Harvey, only seems to be given more credibility. If he were able to get his emotions in check and find some happiness, he’d be more than capable of running the show. This week we saw him help Harvey, use his discretion to avoid causing any problems, successfully defend Agard and acknowledge improvements he still needs to make to his own character in order to be happy. As his therapist told him at the end of this hour, I’m proud of you Louis!

Mike’s prison case & its potential ramifications

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I’m actually really enjoying the prison case and am looking forward to seeing where it goes next. I still think Alex Williams is going to end up involved in this, causing problems for PSL and Harvey in particular. Mike working on this behind Harvey’s back also brings in the potential for some juicy scenes between our favourite on screen brothers, once Harvey finds out Mike has broken his trust. As Rachel pointed out, this could all end in tears. There’s also the addition of Frank Gallo. He already has a grudge against both Mike and Harvey and whether his involvement here ends up coming back to bite them both in the ass remains to be seen. After all, he could find ways to hurt both of them, whether directly or indirectly through those they care for. Mike needs to be careful here. It’s a fun storyline with exciting possibilities and that’s certainly a positive for this show at the moment.

Harvey back to kicking some ass (albeit, yet again with help from someone else)

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I’m starting to wonder if Harvey Spector was ever as good a lawyer / manipulator as I’d previously thought. This week we did at least see him back to doing what I aways enjoyed, kicking ass against those up to no good. However, this series we’ve seen him helped out of a jam by Mike and in 7.05, it’s only thanks to Holly Cromwell that he comes out on top. Maybe, he’s lost his edge? He was at least far less annoying this week, which is a relief.

So, those are the positives this week. Now, it’s time for my growing concerns……….

Donna Paulsen being portrayed as the poor, unloved woman

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I’ve always loved Donna. She has always been a strong, funny, caring, interesting female character, who is always brought to life so vividly by Sarah Rafferty. She has never been a victim, even when her boyfriend was a murderer, she wasn’t painted as a weak character. Yet, now, at a time when we should be seeing Donna at her strongest and most confident, following her promotion to COO, I have a horrible feeling the writers could be taking us down an unpleasant path for her.

And it’s all because of Harvey Specter. I’ve never really viewed Donna as the woman pining for her boss. Their relationship had been written to have so many more intricacies than that. Did I think she loved him? Yes, perhaps even when she didn’t really acknowledge it herself. However, crucially, I’ve never felt that that was unrequited. Especially from season four onwards, there have been so many nods to Harvey sharing those feelings, whether he is ready to act on them or not. Hell, he’s even started dreaming about her romantically.

Yet, this week’s episode seemed to be setting up a new, unpleasant narrative and that’s one of unrequited love; something that would, in my opinion, be a betrayal of the character of Donna Paulsen.

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Why do I think this? Well, the first thing Louis asks on learning of Harvey’s relationship with Agard is whether Donna knows about it. Why does he ask that? Harvey and Louis have never discussed Harvey’s complicated history with Donna and the very fact he asks, introduces the premise that Donna will have a problem with it, i.e. that she’ll be hurt/ jealous. There is no narrative basis for Louis to ask that! Had he said something to Donna, it would have made more sense, as she did tell him about hers and Harvey’s past, but it makes no sense for him to raise it with Harvey.

 

 

 

Secondly, there was all Donna’s questioning of both Louis and Harvey about what was going on between them and the awkward moment when she tells Harvey about the PSL family not keeping secrets from one another. The entire way Donna is starting to come across on screen is as the poor woman with feelings for a man who doesn’t share them and who is trying to find a way to let her down gently. If this is the way the writers are taking Donna in the series I will be furious, as it just doesn’t fit with the narrative I thought they had plotted over the previous six seasons. It also makes me continue to dislike the arrogant Harvey Specter. If this is the creator’s plan to make every viewer hoping to see Harvey and Donna get together change their mind, then congratulations Aaron Korsh, it’s working.

The weakening of Paula Agard’s character

I’m not going to cover old ground. I’ve made my thoughts on the crazy Harvey / Agard plot line this year very clear! I really liked Agard in season five and the more we see of her now, the weaker she comes across. The whole, I was worried you wouldn’t think I was loveable bit was just irritating. I do admit though that her chemistry with Harvey is at least improving. Hell, maybe they will end up living happily ever after.

Looking ahead – Chickens come home to roost

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Next week’s episode is entitled Home To Roost and we can expect to see the negative consequences of Mike’s involvement in the prison case come back to hurt him. I assume this will mainly be between him and Harvey, but the promo suggests this could also include difficulties in his relationship with Rachel. If he ruins that, he really will be in trouble!

So, I’ll see you back here next week, when I hope there will be more positives and none of my concerns will have come to pass!

Suits continues next week, in the USA on Wednesday at 9/8c on USA Network and on Thursday via Netflix in the UK.