Television Review – Suits 8.05 “Good Mudding” – A very personal, yet fun episode

We’re now halfway through this initial run of season 8 of Suits and every week (well, bar 8.02) takes the series from strength to strength. I had high hopes for 8.05 from everything we’d already heard about it and it didn’t disappoint.

There’s a lot to unpack this week, but the key theme was not professional, but personal, as the domestic lives of multiple characters were explored, with one theme binding them all – the question of how to be a good parent and how hard that is. Although I love the office game playing on this show, most of my favourite episodes revolve around the characters’ personal lives and this week was another shining example of how good that can be.

So, let’s break it down, shall we?

Has Harvey Specter’s emotional growth ever been clearer? I don’t think so!

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First point on the list is to say bravo to Gabriel Macht, who was excellent this week. Any opportunity to show a more emotional side of Harvey that he’s given, he takes and runs with and this week was no exception. Knowing we were getting more of the Specter family was what I’d been most excited to see in 8.05 and it was a treat.

Not only did we have some lovely moments between Harvey and his brother (more Billy Miller please), giving us even more insight in to how their family’s problems have at times strained their relationship, but it was also lovely to meet Harvey’s sister-in-law and see her interact with the Specter brothers. One question though, did Marcus not cheat? Was that just a cover as he was too afraid to tell Harvey that what he’d actually done was gamble and ask his daughter to keep it a secret? Surely he didn’t do all three?!

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As well as Marcus’s issues with parenting, we also saw the return of Lily, who was actually able to get through to Harvey in a meaningful way, without an argument, in order to help both her sons. A few years ago such a scene would have been unimaginable and that’s the key point here. It’s been clear recently how much Harvey has developed on an emotional level; he’s been openly kinder to people and more willing to express himself and all of that progress was on display in 8.05. We saw him explode at his brother, only to come to understand that life isn’t black and white and even manage to convey the importance of forgiveness to his sister-in-law about lies and deception. This truly is a changed man and to cap it off, he was able to admit how difficult the situation had been for him. Hearing him tell Donna that it had taken a piece of him stunned me at his readiness to share such vulnerability with her.

I’m more excited than ever to see what these leaps forward will mean for his relationship with everyone in his life, but especially with a certain red-head……..(more on them later)!

Good Mudding No More For Louis

He may not have a family yet, but this week, it was time for Louis to face the harsh reality that having children requires sacrifice. We knew someone gave up something significant in 8.05 and suspected it would be Louis, but I admit, I expected it to be something more serious than mudding! The again, mudding is pretty damn serious if you’re Louis Litt!

With the Specter storyline brining the more emotional scenes this week and after last week being so tough for him, 8.05 saw Louis’s plot bringing back the comedy that Suits is always so good at (and which was greatly lacking in season 7) through Louis’s very real struggle to let go of what has always been his best stress reliever. Mind you, he really can rejoin the mud club in a few weeks / months, so it’s not that big a deal really. Oh and Louis being turned on by property prices? Brilliant!

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I’ve not been a big fan of Sheila recently (in fact, I’ve grown to dislike her and her messing with Louis’s emotions) but, to my surprise, I found myself agreeing with her this week. We all know having children was not something she wanted and now she’s come around to the idea, it really is understandable that she’d be annoyed by Louis’s inability to give up one thing, when she has to sacrifice A LOT. Do I think these two actually having a child is the best idea? Not at the moment, as I’m still not sold on their relationship, but if that’s the path, then they both need to make sacrifices and Louis had to hear that, although she could have been more honest about it, rather than manipulating him behind his back to set him up.

Most of Louis’s scenes may have been comedic this week, but my favourite and one that brought a tear to my eye was Donna giving him that mug. It was so sweet. What a gorgeous friendship they have.

Yet again, I loved Samatha Wheeler

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In what I assume will continue to be a recurring theme this season, Good Mudding also saw conflict arising between Alex and Samantha, this time on a personal level, with Alex struggling as a parent and seeking Samantha’s help with his teenage daughter. True, the example she was setting wasn’t fluffy and was a little shady, but what was he expecting?! He really is appalling at understanding people’s personalities isn’t he? Having said that, I didn’t think what she did was that terrible!

We were also given yet another glimpse in to her past. We already know she was assaulted and now we know her childhood wasn’t an easy one. I’m curious to see how these two puzzle pieces fit together as we continue to get to know the enigmatic Ms. Wheeler. Mind you, it also highlights to me that soon we’ll know more about Samantha’s past than we do about Donna’s, which is quite frustrating!

I’ve missed Suits being this fun!

As I said earlier, in recent seasons Suits seemed to lose a lot of its humour and this week reminded me of how, in years gone by, the show used to make me laugh more than it has recently. So, thank you Sharyn Rothstein for writing an episode full of so much fun! Who’d have thought we’d have ever seen Harvey and Louis actually discussing what turns them on and Gabriel and Rick had me laughing out loud! Tomatoes, Harvey? You couldn’t think of anything better?! Then, in one of the best scenes of the week, we were treated to some A+ punning from Donna at Louis’s expense. You could see how much fun Sarah Rafferty was having! Even a lot of Samatha’s interplay with Alex’s daughter was fun. Please, writers, let’s keep up the humour and fun in the show from now on!

Harvey & Donna – freely talking about their kinky past, but sure, they’re just friends……..

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Ahhh Darvey, you continue to make me laugh and cry (in frustration) in equal measure! Season 7 was rocky and, as I’ve already mentioned in previous reviews for this season, these last few episodes have seen them more comfortable than ever with one another. So comfortable in fact that it seems they now not only have no problem brining up The Other Time (you know, the night they were never to talk about again), but can freely joke about the intimate, kinky details of it too…..right there in the office…….the professional place that was the main reason for Donna’s rule……..but you know, they’re just friends everyone! Nothing to see here!

Plus, on top of this exchange, we also had the all too short phone call, where Harvey had been through the emotional wringer and wanted to share that with one person – Donna. Could that conversation have been any more like a married couple?! Seriously, can we just lock them in a room together to work this out, or better yet, in an elevator, which after all the scenes that have taken place this season by the elevators would be the ideal tie-in! They have to be endgame. How on earth can they go anywhere else at this point?!

It was written and directed by women! 

It’s the icing on the cake that such an enjoyable episode was not only written by a woman, but was also directed by one too. Sharyn Rothstein is quickly becoming one of my favourite writers on the series, already behind one of my favourites (season 6’s The Painting), as well as acting as story editor for many episodes over the last couple of years and Valerie Weiss has given us some beautifully shot scenes in the past (the end of 7.06 standing out) and this week added more scenes to that list (my favourite perhaps being Donna and Louis at the end). I’m already looking forward to their next contributions to the show.

A couple of cons

Although, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Good Mudding, there were a couple of cons for me. First, as much as I love Donna acting as everyone’s fixer, she really needs a personal life of her own. I really hope we get to see this soon. Oh and I’m still disappointed in how much I’ve changed my mind on Louis and Sheila. I used to love them together. Katrina was also absent, but in light of the fact we’ve already had a couple of episodes with a decent storyline for her, I can accept missing out on seeing her this week. Oh, and I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get Harvey at Donna’s door. That would have been glorious.

And looking ahead………..

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We don’t know much about 8.06. but we suspect it includes Donna in a gorgeous ballgown and the title, Cats, Ballet, Harvey Specter suggests Louis will be the focus, but what we do know for sure is that the episode will see Harvey and Louis going to therapy…..together! Group therapy with these two? Good luck Dr. Lipschitz!

Suits continues next week with 8.06 Cats, Ballet, Harvey Specter on Wednesday night on the USA Network in the USA and on Thursday in the UK via Netflix. You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/16nMRv-QpUk

All screen shots / photos courtesy of USA Network

 

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Television Review – Suits 8.04 “Revenue Per Square Foot” aka Louis needs a big hug!

It’s that time of the week where I dissect the latest episode of Suits. It’s hard to believe we’re already four weeks in to this eighth season!

The promo for the episode suggested this was going to be a darker week for Louis Litt and that certainly proved to be true and allowed the writers and Rick Hoffman to delve in to the emotional depths of this much-loved (well, by me anyway) character. However, 8.04 also provided the opportunity for the new ZSL team to pull together and actually start to be more like a family, with some lovely scenes between various characters, both established ones and some still relatively new. The further we get in to season 8, the happier I am about how much I’m enjoying it!

Getting in to specifics………

Rick Hoffman continues to show what a tremendous actor he is (and reminds us all how much we care for Louis Litt)

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Oh Louis! I went in to this episode prepared for what happened to Louis, thanks to last week’s promo, but it was still tough to watch. Having said that, I love a darker, angst-ridden storyline and although this one didn’t last long, it allowed Rick Hoffman and the writers to delve a little in to darker territory, with Louis’s mugging having emotional repercussions for him and his colleagues.

It goes without saying that Rick Hoffman was fantastic this week. I always love the stories that allow him to show a more emotional Louis (4.10/4.11 leaping to mind) and his response to try and hide what happened from everyone else made perfect sense for him. The moment he lost it with Samantha was handled so well, really highlighting a man at an emotional breaking point and his subsequent scene with Harvey was just lovely. One of the items on my season 8 wish list was the continuation of Harvey and Louis’s friendship and this scene was just what I was looking for (plus Gabriel Macht and Hoffman were both wonderful to watch). Seeing Harvey so kind and supportive to his friend and giving him great emotional advice was a joy (I’m so proud of your character development, Harvey) and him calling Louis “buddy” – it may have made me feel quite moved. Oh and that hug with Robert Zane? I want one!

Samantha Wheeler – truly part of the team and the family

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I’ve liked Samantha since episode one and over the first three episodes, we’ve been able to see her hard edge and her strong, confident attitude about her ability and what an asset that is to the firm. Last week we saw an inkling of the kinder side to her, by her helping Alex even when she didn’t need to and this week we saw exactly what kind of person she is and that’s one who cared enough about Louis to recognise something was wrong and let those that could help him know he needed them.

Seeing her tell Harvey he needed to be there for Louis made me smile and I loved the end when she offered to teach Louis self-defence! It was just lovely and Katherine Heigl did a great job of showing this softer side to her character, who we also learnt a little more about, by her revelation that something similar happened to her and that Robert Zane was there for her. I liked Samantha before this week, but following 8.04, I love her. Welcome to the family Ms. Wheeler!

Robert Zane learns an important lesson

Well, technically he learnt two if you include the knowledge that Louis Litt gives the best hugs! That aside, this week was important for Robert now he’s part of ZSL. Yes, it’s right he’s the boss, yes he was right when he told Harvey that he’s better at it than he is and yes he is absolutely right that they all need to be reminded who’s the boss from time to time, just as Jessica used to do. However, Donna was also spot-on when she told him that he needed to sometimes let them do things their way and that perhaps his slightly abrasive attitude could backfire on him the way it clearly did at his old firm. It’s great having Wendell Pierce in the series more and I’m excited to see what lies ahead, such as will we get to see more of his backstory with Samantha or will it remain a bit of a mystery, just as Harvey and Jessica’s bond was? Time will tell. Now, we just need to see him mudding with Louis!

Donna Paulsen continues to keep the firm together by supporting everyone else

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Yet again, it was Donna’s job this week to see the potential storms on the horizon and head them off and she’s so good at it, people such as Robert Zane don’t even realise how much she’s done. I’m still not really invested in Alex’s storyline, so had he left I wouldn’t have been that fussed, but knowing the upset it would cause when the firm is still in a period of adjustment, she successfully stopped the problem by doing what she does best – reading how people feel, knowing what they might do and helping them, sometimes without them realising. I loved that she engineered the whole Holly Cromwell element and that Harvey worked it out. Her relationship with Robert Zane is also developing well and demonstrates how much she’s grown and how confident she now is in this role.

We need more Gretchen! 

God bless Gretchen! She should be in every episode. She’s always awesome and Aloma Wright and Rick Hoffman continue to shine together.

Sheila Sasz – I used to like you, I really did, but honestly, just Leave Louis Alone!! 

I admit, I’m a little surprised by how much I’ve changed my view about Sheila Sasz. In the earlier seasons I really liked her a lot and her relationship with Louis was always fun and loving and I was truly sad to see them part ways. I had been pleased to hear she was coming back, but then the “let’s make cheating fun” storyline began last season and I started to cringe. It wasn’t really funny to me. Call me boring and old-fashioned if you want, but you can’t have the same fun, playful scenes between them when the context for it is cheating. Plus, she was messing with Louis’s emotions, which is never going to endear someone to me.

So, here we are in season 8 and I was hoping that it’d be smooth sailing. They’d decided to give it a try, decided they both now did want the same things in life (namely, a child) and I hoped Louis Litt, who ended season 6 sobbing in Rachel’s arms, was going to find some happiness. Yet, I’m coming to the conclusion we’e heading for yet more heartache and if the promo for next week (more on that shortly) is anything to go by, I’ll be happier for Louis is he lets this unhealthy, messed up relationship go.

Alex Williams is finally able to show some initiative (and stop whining)!

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I can’t quite put my finger on why I’m still a little bored by Alex Williams. I am a fan of Dule Hill and Alex is a good guy, trying to do the right thing after getting himself in to so much trouble over at his old firm. Yet, I’ve been finding his constant moaning rather tedious; moaning to Harvey, moaning to Samantha last week and then moaning again to Donna this week about the position he was in. So, I practically cheered when Donna effectively told him to quit whining and act! Someone had to say it! The result – we saw him show some initiative and show Harvey and Robert that he’s not a chew toy for them both to fight over. I’m still on Team Samantha when it comes to Named Partner, but I’m pleased to finally see Alex become a bit more interesting, even if he still has work to do.

Donna & Harvey – Sharing food and jokes. Now they just need to start sharing a bed!

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I’m becoming increasingly intrigued by Donna and Harvey’s relationship this season. I can see what I think the writers are trying to do with their relationship following season 7B; they went through a lot of emotional turmoil, which was frankly needed, but it did all happen in a few weeks for them and when you’ve as much emotional baggage as these two have, I didn’t expect fireworks overnight (even if I’d have loved it).

What we’ve seen so far this season is the re-establishment of their foundation, which hasn’t really been the same since season 4; they are comfortable with each other again, joking, teasing, flirting and it feels lighter and more fun than it has in ages and I’m loving it. Crucially for me though, it doesn’t feel identical to the early seasons, as though they are simply retreading old ground. Instead, there is something slightly different about it that I find hard to describe. They just seem so solid in what they have and I’m hoping the next few episodes will see them finally beginning to explore what’s really there between them. All it’ll take is a bit of honesty from both of them. Come on guys, you’re so close now (unless of course they are already together in secret and we just don’t know it yet)!

Looking ahead to 8.05 – the most anticipated episode of the season so far! 

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Next week we reach 8.05, entitled “Good Mudding” and this is the episode the fandom has been talking about for quite a while; ever since May when Aaron Korsh took part in a podcast and we learned that someone in 8.05 gives up something important to them. The synopsis points towards Louis and after seeing the promo, can we assume this is his dream of being a dad? Maybe, or maybe he gives up his relationship with Sheila? Quite frankly after the way she’s been treating him recently and if it transpires she’s been leading him on about having kids, then I hope he does! No one needs this type of game playing in their lives!

 

Not only do we have this puzzle though, but we’ll also be seeing the Specters again next week, with Marcus, his wife and Harvey’s mum popping up, which I assume is due to Marcus’s divorce. Has he cheated? How will this affect Harvey? I’m hoping for some good family drama!

Oh…..and there’s Harvey and Donna talking about strawberries and whipped cream (see the flirty photo above from 8.05). Discussing the restocking of the office fridge, or The Other Time…? Who on earth knows, but I can’t wait to find out!

Suits continues next week, on Wednesday in the USA on the USA Network and on Thursday via Netflix in the UK. You can see the promo here: https://youtu.be/RPTyNLAIeDs

Television Review – Suits 8.03 “Promises, Promises”- where the new ensemble really finds its feet

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After finding last week’s episode a little bit flat, this week saw the new era of Suits really finding its feet. The biggest take away from 8.03 for me was just how strong this ensemble is. After the loss of three of the original cast, that was a risk and yet, three episodes in and the dynamics that are starting to bed in are pushing the series forward and bringing a new energy that works.

As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this week, so let’s delve in to the reasons why a little more.

Promises, Promises (and it’s becoming clear which will be broken)

Right from the start of the episode, we were reminded of exactly what promises the title was referring to. Even I’d forgotten about the promise Louis had made to Katrina, so with that and two people both hungry for their names on the wall and there were plenty of expectations flying around Zane Specter Litt. I’ll delve more in to Katrina’s journey later, but when it comes to named partner, it’s already becoming clear it should be Wheeler and not Williams up next.

Harvey, is that you? The loss of Mike is causing Harvey to have an identity crisis! 

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Watching 8.03, there was one fact that couldn’t be denied. Harvey Specter is not the same man we first met in 2011’s season one. Remember him? The man who didn’t need to know the details of the pro bono case he passed off to Mike, because he doesn’t care about the clients? The Harvey we see now wouldn’t recognise that person!

Promises, Promises highlighted just how important Mike Ross was to Harvey, both personally and professionally. He made him care and the loss of his friend and partner in crime has noticeably been affecting Harvey so far this season. He’s seemed a little sad and off his game; lost in the new environment of ZSL and that was finally addressed this week. No surprise that it was Donna who pointed out the truth to him. In order to deal with the loss of Mike, Harvey’s trying to be him, to keep the spirit of him alive in the firm. It’s sweet and seeing Harvey Specter caring for someone who has no one to fight for her was lovely to see, but Robert, Louis and Donna were right; this isn’t what the firm does and creating a storm with their landlord over it rather than simply passing it to the clinic was perhaps one step too far in a work context, but a more emotionally open Harvey can only be a good thing.

I’m loving the character progression of Harvey, which seems back on track after the swerving off course in 7.01. He’s realised Managing Partner isn’t who he is, he’s learnt how to care for people and that caring doesn’t necessarily make you weak and he’s seemingly realising that work isn’t the only thing that matters to him; people matter too. I’ll be interested to see how the upcoming return of the wider Specter family will impact on him. Maybe he’s close to realising there’s something else missing from his life away from the firm and that he needs to take a risk to be truly happy. Time will tell, but right now I’m proud of you Harvey!

Katrina learns the importance of teamwork (and makes a friend)

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The writers have already taken Katrina on an interesting journey. It’s now hard to remember that when she arrived we all disliked her for her nastiness towards Rachel and now Amanda Schull is a series regular, we are able to delve deeper in to this character. We already know Katrina is a superb lawyer and a strong woman, but 8.01 showed the difficulties of a woman trying to climb the ladder in the corporate world (if you’re strong and a little ruthless, you’re seen as cold and heartless) and I loved Suits showing just how hard it is to be successful in this world. This episode saw Katrina understanding that being a great lawyer isn’t enough the higher you get; you need to be able to lead people and have confidence in them to be able to delegate. That’s not a skill that everyone finds easy to do. Look at Harvey; until Mike, he didn’t let anyone do his work. Through Katrina’s interaction with Brian this week, allowing him to support her when she was struggling, she learnt that too and grew in her role as a result. She also made a friend and the more we see of her, the more I love her.

Wheeler vs. Williams? There’s no contest!

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Three episodes in and Samatha Wheeler is rapidly rising up my list of favourite characters in the show. Two of the promises on the table at ZSL are the ones to make each of Samantha and Alex the next Named Partner, but let’s be honest about this – at the moment, there’s no contest. As Samantha said herself at the very end of the episode (in which Katherine Heigl shone), she’s already miles ahead of Alex and she’s not afraid of letting him know it. I love her up-front attitude when addressing the position they are both in and her level of confidence and find myself wishing I had that same attitude!

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We also saw another side of her this week, not just the game-playing meddling we’ve witnessed for the last two weeks. Here, we saw her help Alex out, even when she didn’t have to. His tantrum in the lobby made me laugh. Just like Harvey with Donna in 8.01, he was effectively moaning that she didn’t save him from himself! Seriously Alex? The gender reversals between Alex and Samantha are fun to watch, while also making an interesting point – if a woman had acted that way, how would they have been perceived? I think we sadly all know the answer to that.

I do like Alex, but he’s still the character I’m least interested in and he certainly has a lot to learn. Samantha’s warning had been clear that the guy was dirty and yet he chose to ignore her and then cry about it when she was right! Come on Alex, you need to get better at reading people, otherwise it’ll be Zane Specter Litt Wheeler Bennett before you can blink (which I’d actually be fine with)!

My one wish now, a scene between Samantha and Jessica. Now that would be glorious!

The comedy is back!

One of my favourite elements of the series has always been the comedic aspects of the storylines and characters and that side of the show has been lacking recently (the Sheila / Louis stuff last week was just cringeworthy, rather than comedic, in my view). Yet, 8.03 was sprinkled with fun moments, surprisingly coming mostly from Robert Zane (still played superbly by Wendell Pierce).

I loved the nod to the ridiculous amount they drink on Suits without any side effects, by Robert nursing a hangover. Careful Robert, you need years of practice to spend a night drinking with Harvey. You better ask Donna for tips! Then there was the Zane / Litt dynamic, which is already so much fun to watch, especially his reaction to Louis’s disgusting hangover remedy! Robert and Harvey are also developing their own rapport and this was topped off with the banter back between Donna and Harvey. Hopefully season 8 will continue to keep the balance between drama and comedy right.

Donna and Harvey are more than Darvey and I love it!

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We’ve had some ups and downs between these two characters over the last season and this week’s episode really demonstrated that their relationship is stronger than ever. Do I want to see them ultimately end up together? Of course and I’ll feel annoyed (and a little cheated) if we get to the series finale (whenever that will be in the future) and they aren’t together. However, am I annoyed that they are not cuddling up in bed now and making heart eyes at each other across the office? No, I’m not. I love where their relationship is right now. It’s a mature, strong, multi-faceted relationship, that is the result of years of work by the writers, Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht.

They’ve always been a team and Harvey may well have seen her as an equal, but now the world gets to see it too and they needed that equal-footing before taking any romantic steps, whether they realise it or not. We’re past the teething phase of Donna in her new role and in to the phase of watching her kicking ass. Unlike Alex this week, Donna’s biggest strength is her ability to read people and she shows that not all the cases at the firm can be solved by legal ability alone. Her scene with David Fox was fabulous. She strode in to his office and came out on top and he was grudgingly impressed. Who wouldn’t be?!

The brilliance of their partnership is that they are already a couple in almost every respect and whenever they do cross that line (I still think it’ll happen one day) not much will really change and that’s thanks to the depth of the relationship they already have. Now, all we need is for them to have the confidence to take a risk and go for it. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy “The Adventures of the Sledgehammer and the Velvet Glove” (I might use that for a story title)!

Looking ahead…….

The promo for next week seemed pretty grim for Louis Litt, who appears to be mugged at gunpoint! That’s quite dark for Suits and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles it. Personally, I’m hoping for another Harvey / Louis moment. Perhaps a traumatic event is just what this still relatively new team needs to finally pull together. We’ll find out in a week!

All photos / screen shots are courtesy of SuitsUSA / USA Network.

Suits continues next week with 8.04 “Revenue Per Square Foot”, which airs on Wednesday night on the USA Network in the USA and will be available on Thursday in the UK via Netflix. You can see the promo here: https://youtu.be/g3BUfaWo1bE

 

 

Television Review – Suits 8.02 “Pecking Order”

So, the fact it’s taken me almost a week to write this review is perhaps the best indication of my thoughts on the latest episode of Suits, which aired last week. Don’t misunderstand, there was nothing wrong with Pecking Order; it was just a bit boring, especially after last week’s premiere, which I thought set the new series off in an exciting direction. This week, by comparison, felt a bit flat. There were however some great moments, including one of my favourites of the whole series.

So, getting in to the detail………

Sheila Sasz is starting to really irritate me

 

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I used to really like Sheila and her zany relationship with Louis. It was fun and they seemed to bring out the best in each other. Season 7B saw the more uncomfortable “let’s make cheating comedic” storyline, which I couldn’t wait to end and once they were a couple I was looking forward to their relationship getting back to the good old days. Maybe it still will, but 8.02’s storyline for these two seemed unnecessary and came across to me as just plain irritating.

Sheila used to know Louis so well and yet this week saw her oblivious to what has been obvious to everyone, including Louis, for ages – he doesn’t want to be managing partner, nor is he right for the position. That’s not to say he isn’t a great lawyer, but not everyone is suited to sit at the top. Heck, even Harvey finally realised it isn’t right for him either. So, spending an hour with Sheila emotionally manipulating Louis in to trying to go for a job he doesn’t want was annoying. Louis is not someone you want to make stressed out. It only brings out the worst in him and it shows just how much he has grown by this point that he didn’t end up lashing out, as he has in the past. I spent most of the episode shouting for Sheila to just go away, which is a shame when I know how much I used to like her. I really hope from here on out, both her and her relationship with Louis settle down.

Samantha Wheeler continuing to make waves

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After last week, I was pleased by the introduction of Samantha Wheeler. Having another strong, confident woman in the office and one that can wind up Harvey Specter was great to see. This week saw her continuing to make waves with her new team (albeit under the orders of Robert Zane). We’re seeing more and more the type of personality she has and that’s fine with me. Her attitude that they needed to protect the client no matter what, rather than doing what was most decent, highlighted that Samantha is who Harvey was when Suits began. Mike’s influence on Harvey has clearly rubbed off on him over the years.

As much as I’ve enjoyed seeing her settle in, I now hope the writers move her forward, as I don’t want to see her butting heads with everyone for the whole season (although, it seems a showdown between her and Alex, who both want their names on the wall, is inevitable). I enjoyed her and Donna trying to work each other out, but I don’t want to see them pitted against each other for too long. As I mentioned in my wish list for season 8, I want to see these brilliant women supporting one another. Think how much stronger they would be then!

Dr. Lipschitz continuing to be the therapist with ethics that the show deserves!

I couldn’t believe the nerve of Sheila to go and see Louis’s therapist undercover. I was horrified she’d do that, but it was fantastic to see Dr. Lipschitz call her out on how unethical it was, before letting her know some home truths. Bravo! Now, can we just have him sit down with Harvey (and heck, maybe even Donna) to help resolve some other issues!

Yes for the women teaming up. No for it being against another woman

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Suits is blessed with having some wonderful female characters and when they have screen time together that’s even better. This week we saw Donna, Gretchen and Katrina meeting in the file room to team up, which was great, except for the fact it was against another woman. It does sadly highlight the way it often works in these environments for women, where instead of supporting and championing each other, they become threatened by each other, but I don’t want to see this continuing too long with these characters. They are better than that. Let’s have them all on the same team, kicking some serious ass together. Now that would be the example to set.

Louis standing up for himself and stealing the show!

Although this was a bit of a boring episode for me, it still included a scene which would likely make my list of all time favourite Suits scenes and that’s Louis standing up for himself with Robert and Harvey. They were disrespectful by completely ignoring him when deciding on the running of the firm, especially when he worked so hard to save it in the season seven finale and I cheered when he read them the riot act for their behaviour! Rick Hoffman stole the show in that scene and the looks on both Gabriel Macht and Wendell Pierce’s faces were brilliant. Take a bow Louis, you are indeed a King! Special mention also to the hilarious scene where Louis imagined Harvey and Robert in the room observing him with Sheila. All three actors were fantastic and I laughed for quite a while.

What’s going on with Harvey’s office?

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Harvey is back in his old office! Fantastic! It’s where he belongs. However, it looked a lot different to how it used to and I’ve been wondering what the message we are meant to be taking from that is. Is this a sign that Harvey has matured? His precious records are relegated to the side wall now, with volumes of legal books (and booze) taking centre stage, while the painting in the middle is not the one of his mother, which is instead squashed between a shelving unit and the ceiling to the side (and is clearly a smaller version of the previous one). Whether or not this is meant to signal that Harvey is a different person, I have no idea, but personally, I liked it the way it used to be.

Donna and Harvey – back to “normal”

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No review would be complete without a comment on my favourite on-screen duo, although there isn’t much to say this week. In fact, it’d probably be fair to say Donna and Harvey are back to business as usual, which I’m not really surprised about. Season eight is a reset for the show in terms of new characters and dynamics having to be established,  so I didn’t expect there to be much focus on “Darvey” in 8A. There just isn’t time for it at the moment.

However, that isn’t to say that’s it’s not annoying after season 7 seeming to build up to something significant. Heck, Harvey ended his relationship because he couldn’t lose Donna from his life. You’d think that would get him thinking, wouldn’t you? Then again, he thinks that kiss meant nothing to her, so who knows. That final scene was strange too; it was an abrupt ending to the episode, which had me wondering whether there was more we didn’t see. Harvey not talking things through with Donna over a drink seemed a bit strange, after all. We’ll see where it goes, but at least they are back supporting each other just like they used to.

Looking ahead to 8.03

The new episode, entitled Promises, Promises, will see the return of David Fox, the building’s landlord, who almost got the better of Donna last season. From the promo, Harvey looks to be channelling Mike; taking on Fox for the good of the little guy. Who knows whether he comes out on top, but as we already know this character appears in 8.07, it seems there may very well be consequences.

All photos / screenshots: USA Network

Suits season eight continues tomorrow night in the US on USA Network and on Thursday in the UK via Netflix. You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/8JPISfNWo4o

Television Review – Suits is back & off to a strong fresh start (8.01 “Right Hand Man”)

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There’s been a lot of discussion in the build up to this season and plenty of concerns. Would Katherine Heigl’s new character take centre stage? Would the show be able to bridge the gap left by Meghan Markle, but more importantly Patrick J Adams, when, let’s face it, the foundation of Suits was always Mike and Harvey’s relationship and how they made each other better men? Heck, there’s even been concern about whether or not the new titles sequence would honour the original cast members enough (short answer there – it does and it looks great).

A couple of days ago, I set out my wish list for the new era of Suits and having watched the first episode of season eight, I’m pleased to say, in my opinion, the series is off to a strong start and I’m very very relieved and rather excited!

So, diving in to the detail……..

No one kicks ass with as much style as Robert Zane! 

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I’ve always loved Robert Zane. He had a brilliant relationship with Jessica Pearson and he’s always been in a league above Louis and Harvey, much to their annoyance and yet they’ve all bonded through his daughter and her loyalty to her family and her work family. Tonight saw Zane establish himself as the boss and let’s face it, that’s exactly how it should be. Harvey has always been at his best when no.2 to Jessica, able to have more freedom to play by his own rules. Could he run the firm? Yes, I think he could now, after a few teething problems in season 7, but ultimately it’s not who he is and that’s what he understood and accepted by the end of “Right Hand Man.” He’s not a series regular, but I’m still sure we’ll see a decent amount of Wendell Pierce this year and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Donna finally getting to shine in her role as COO

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Last season saw Donna move up the ranks. Senior partner was nuts and I’m pleased that was changed pretty swiftly. Would someone in her position realistically become COO of a law firm? No, but this is Suits and it’s allowed to leave reality at the door to some extent and Donna certainly deserved to be more than someone simply seen as just answering Harvey’s phones!

Having seen a lot of bumps in the road since her promotion, as she navigated her new role and her confidence in it, I’m thrilled that if the season opener is anything to go by, this year we’ll get to see Donna (played brilliantly as always by Sarah Rafferty) truly shining and reminding everyone just how essential she is to the firm. In just one episode, we saw her offer advice to Katrina, Brian and Harvey, as well as earning the respect of the new managing partner by the end of the hour. Plus, bugging the conference room was pretty darn smart. My only hope now, is that the show doesn’t follow a predictable path and have her and Samantha going against each other, rather than supporting each other as strong women in a man’s world. Oh, and top marks as always to the costume department. Her wardrobe continues to take my breath away (and Harvey’s, if he’s being really honest with himself)!

Welcome on board Samantha Wheeler!

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The addition of Katherine Heigl to the cast certainly drew a lot of criticism from some people, but from what I saw in 8.01, her character looks to be a fun, feisty new member of ZSL (this acronym will always by London Zoo to me, but that’s a separate issue). I love that she’s confident and not intimidated by the likes of Robert Zane and Harvey Specter and another strong woman in the team is exactly what the show needs. We’ve seen her interact with her mentor, Zane, and with Harvey and Alex, so now I just want to see the dynamic between her and Donna. No nasty cat fighting please. I’m guessing her and Alex will be vying for their name on the wall all year. At this point, my money’s on Samantha!

A deeper insight in to the personality of Katrina. More please! 

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Amanda Schull’s Katrina has always been one of my favourite recurring characters and now she’s a series regular, it’s fantastic that we’ll be able to learn more about her. This episode certainly provided some fascinating insights in to her drive and personality. Katrina has always been ambitious and 8.01 was no different, as she volunteered to fire associates being let go due to the merger. That’s no pleasant task for anyone and showed a great drive to rise in the firm and gain respect of those senior to her by taking it on.

What I loved though, was that this episode revealed some of her own feelings about not being appreciated, as well as highlighting some of the many difficulties women face in such high-powered environments. They do have to give up more than men to succeed in worlds like this one and it was nice to see this flagged, while also providing depth to Katrina. I love Brian and was pleased he was staying, but the moment he called her cold and implied that’s what people say about her made my blood boil – oh look, a strong women making tough decisions and she’s cold-hearted. They’d never say that about a man and that’s a fact. Plus, she also revealed that perhaps she isn’t happy with the sacrifices she’s had to make to get where she is. As Donna picked up on, she was talking about herself, not the associates, when letting Louis know all the sacrifices people make to work hard, which again highlighted issues that women have to navigate in the world all the time.

We’ve also only really seen her interact with Louis and Mike to this point, so it’ll be fun to see her working with the others. She’ll never replace Rachel, but it was nice to see her and Donna already forming a closer bond and I hope that continues.

Harvey Specter back where he belongs

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As I’ve already said above, although he could have led the firm, ultimately Harvey wouldn’t have any fun doing it. He’s always more interesting when he’s not at the top of the decision-making tree and, initially in this episode, I was surprised Donna didn’t see that, until she revealed at the end, she’d known all along and let him make his own mistakes so that he’d work it out too. The scene in which he basically cried like a baby to her for not saving him from himself made me laugh. I honestly wanted to give him a dummy to suck on. Honestly, what a baby! Donna really is the boss of him, it’s hilarious.

With Zane in charge, it gives Harvey more scope to get out on the ground and be the type of character he used to be in the early seasons and no doubt we’ll see him having some teething problems with Samatha Wheeler and his loyalties with Alex Williams. I also hope this more level pegging between him and Louis will only strengthen their friendship.

Then there was the best change of the episode – Harvey is returning to his old office! He never looked at home in Jessica’s domain and it’ll be great to see him back behind his old desk. It’s where he belongs and I’m very pleased about it.

Donna and Harvey – back to being a strong, united team

Season seven had its ups and downs for Donna and Harvey. After the solid foundation we left them on in season 6, episode 7.01 opened with the bonkers Agard plot and also the overnight shift in their dynamic. Season 7B had them coming to an understanding about how important they are to each other, especially Harvey, choosing his relationship with Donna over the life he was trying to build with Paula (how she didn’t see that coming, when he met her after having panic attacks at the idea of losing Donna, I will never understand). I know lots of people are annoyed that they are not together romantically yet, but, as was the case with other on screen slow burns (Mulder and Scully, Brennan and Booth, Josh and Donna to name just three), the show knows that part of the draw is watching the sparks. I was growing frustrated last year, but I also want to see them emotionally ready for that next step and they’re not quite there yet. Yes, it’s a big part of why I love the show, but Suits isn’t just The Darvey Show to me, so as long as they have great content that continues to develop them emotionally and that suggests a positive ending, I’m fine with that.

Toronto looking its best as always

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I have a new admiration for the locations team and crew in general after my recent visit to Toronto, the home of Suits (watch this space for a post about that!). It’s taken for granted that Suits is set in New York and the crew do a superb job or finding locations in Toronto that fit that image, but that also highlight just what a fabulously diverse city it is.

Looking Ahead…..

Next week’s episode is called Pecking Order and from the promo, it looks as though Harvey and Donna are going to be going up against Samantha Wheeler. As long as this doesn’t become a drawn out battle, before they realise they are all on the same team, I’m all for some good conflict. Welcome back Suits gang, I’ve missed you. Will I miss Mike and Rachel? Of course, but at least it seems that the show is going to be fun, fresh and full of new story opportunities going forward.

Suits season 8 continues next week (Wednesday night in the USA and Thursdays on Netflix in the UK). Check out the promo here: https://youtu.be/Mq7_h6a4Ml8

Looking ahead to a new era – My wish list for Suits Season 8

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It’s only been a few months since the season seven finale of Suits, which, if you read my review, you’ll know left me feeling rather disappointed. I’ll always think that opportunities were missed to truly make the departure of Meghan Markle and Patrick J Adams and indeed their characters, special, especially now that the spin-off show, which used that finale as a springboard and took up so much time, isn’t even reaching our screens until 2019.

Those views aside, this week sees the return of the series, in what is undoubtably a whole new era, with the arrival of new character Samatha Wheeler (played by Katherine Heigl) and the promotion of Dule Hill’s Alex Williams and Amanda Schull’s Katrina Bennett to series regulars. The show won’t be the same without half of the original cast (although I assume Jessica Pearson will be back the closer we get to the start of her show, Second City) and I’ll especially miss the special bond between Harvey and Mike, but I’m also excited to see whether the show really is able to reboot itself which, if successful, could mean it’s around for a bit longer.

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Therefore, before the show returns this week (Wednesday night in the USA and Thursday on Netflix here in the UK), I’ve been considering exactly what I’m hoping for in Suits season eight. I’m realistic in knowing that it’s unlikely I’ll get all of the points on this wishlist, but hopefully my demands aren’t too unreasonable!!

So, diving right in!

1. A narrative that makes sense and doesn’t come out of nowhere!

I won’t ramble on about how much the season seven premiere irritated me (you can read it here, if you haven’t already!), but I still need any show I enjoy and invest in, to have a logical story narrative for its characters. That isn’t to say things will always go the way I want them to, but as long as I can see the logic for the story decisions, I’ll stick with it to the bitter end!

2. Strong female characters supporting each other, not pitted against each other

Suits has always impressed me for its inclusion of strong female characters and although nothing will compare to Donna and Rachel’s friendship, or Jessica’s presence at the top, season eight has the opportunity to again have three main female characters supporting each other. I don’t want to see Samantha and Donna pitted against each other, or threatened by each other and I hope the writers won’t be as stereotypical as other shows have been when portraying women on screen. Having Donna, Katrina and Samantha (and indeed with Gretchen and Sheila too) in the series, I’m excited to see them supporting and respecting each other’s strengths.

3. More Donna backstory please!

Although she’s been here since the beginning, Donna is the character we still know the least about. Season seven showed us Louis’s past and what made him who he is and yes, we’ve seen a glimpse of young Donna, but there’s still so much we don’t know about her and I’d love to dig further in to that. Plus, who doesn’t want to meet her mother and see her talking about Harvey at that dinner party, or Donna during her theatre years?!

4. More Lily and her meeting a certain someone special

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I know many many people hated Paula Agard getting to meet Harvey’s mother before Donna, but I see why, from a story perspective, it made sense, allowing all the events of “Inevitable” to unfold. Darvey fans are forever grateful to you, Lily! Personally, I love seeing the more emotional side of Harvey (and Gabriel Macht getting a chance to channel his emotions more) and there is so much that could be explored through his relatively new connection with his mother, who is surely wondering who exactly that someone special is, if it wasn’t Paula! Stop by the office Lily and pop in to see the COO. Maybe Gordon mentioned her? I can but hope! Plus, if Harvey’s brother is going through a difficult time, then Lily is bound to appear at some point.

5. Mike and Rachel remaining a presence, despite their absence

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Yes, Patrick and Meghan may have left (although I still hope Patrick comes back one day, even if just for the last ever episode), but Mike and Rachel are still only in Seattle and so I hope they’ll continue to be referred to, from time to time. With Robert Zane joining the firm, I imagine this will be much easier to achieve and any little mention will go down very well with longstanding fans.

6. DARVEY PROGRESS! It’s been seven seasons for heaven’s sake!

It’s hard to say exactly how much progress I want to see by the end of season eight without knowing if this will be the final season of the show or not. Plus, I’m realistic when it comes to Donna and Harvey’s relationship. It remains one of the most interesting dynamics on television and chemistry between actors of this kind is rare, but I also understand why the writers have held off, as a slow burn is fun to watch. Plus, there is more to Suits than Darvey. However, I think Suits is at risk of dragging the slow burn out for too long unless clear progress continues to be made, especially as I can’t imagine this couple not being endgame by the time Suits does eventually finish.

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Season six seemed to be heading towards something happening, with both characters more emotionally open, especially after Harvey finally reconciling with his mother and then 7.01 suddenly had Harvey declaring the only person he wanted to share his life with was her ex therapist?! Personally, I didn’t have a problem with Harvey having a relationship with someone else, as I’d hoped that would wake him or Donna up (which is exactly what this did, for Donna at least), but having it be Paula Agard was just nuts (although, full marks to Christina Cole for her work).

Therefore, surely this season needs to push Donna and Harvey’s feelings forwards, whether in the right direction for a ninth season, or to the finish line, if this is the last year of the show. Will Donna admit she did feel lots of things when they kissed? Will that be to Harvey or a third party like Louis? Will Alex or Marcus take on the role of Mike to give his old friend shit for not making a move on a woman he clearly cares for? Is this where Lily or one of Donna’s family play a role? There needs to be steps forward. Before a lot of fans lose their minds!

7. A deepening of the friendship between Harvey and Louis

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With the arrival in the firm of Robert Zane, who it seems is going to take on the managing partner role, Louis and Harvey will once again be on level pegging as named partners and I hope this allows for their friendship to only grow on screen. Over the last season and a half, we’ve seen much less of their in-fighting and much more of these two men being friends as well as colleagues. I loved their chat in 6.13 about Louis’s love life and the moment Harvey called Louis “My friend” in 7.14 was a highlight of 7B. I’m hopeful we see more of this in season eight and not a return to the more juvenile bickering of past years.

8. Samatha Wheeler kicking Harvey’s ass professionally, but staying away from him romantically!

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I know there’s been mixed reactions to Katherine Heigl joining the cast of Suits. What’s important to me is what she and her character bring to the show and that she fit in with the family that the cast and crew have created around the series. Everyone deserves a second chance after all. That being said, I really hope the writing team don’t go down the obvious route of having Samantha Wheeler dating Harvey. PLEASE NO! I think they won’t be that silly, but it’ll remain a concern until I see on screen that she has a partner or shows absolutely no interest in him whatsoever! Plus, it’ll be fun to see a strong woman kick his ass professionally.

9. Lots of Dr Lipschitz! 

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It seems crazy that Ray Proscia’s Dr. Lipschitz only arrived on Suits in 7.02, as it feels as though he’s been around forever! Fingers crossed he continues to help Louis on his emotional journey and if he has a spare slot in his schedule, can he fit Harvey in too? He really needs a therapist who takes their job seriously! Plus, if he’s having to deal with his brother’s marriage falling apart, maybe he’ll need someone to talk him through exactly how that’s affecting his own feelings on relationships.

10. Louis Litt being happy for a whole season (well, fine I’ll take half a season if a full one is too much to ask for)!

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It’s been a rocky road for Louis in the last few seasons, so I’m hoping to see him find a level of personal stability and happiness this year. Sheila has always been the best match for him (thank god Tara didn’t last long) and I’d love to see them both happy with their relationship. Maybe it’ll inspire Harvey and Donna to follow their example! And if a little baby Litt is on the cards, well, if it’s what both Louis and Sheila are happy about, then that’ll certainly add another dynamic to the show. Louis setting up a firm creche with Brian anyone?!

11. A few familiar faces popping up would be fab too!

Suits is a show that has a brilliant set of recurring characters to draw from and there are a few I’m hoping turn up in season 8. Top of the list are Gretchen and Brian, who both have brilliant dynamics with Louis. Then there’s Benjamin, who has a lovely connection with Donna, as well as Stu (but his return in season 7 perhaps rules this out) and I’m pleased we’ll be seeing more of Harvey’s brother too.

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So, those are my hopes for this new era of Suits. It has the potential to be an exciting season. I really hope it delivers. All my fingers are crossed.

Suits season 8 begins on Wednesday 18th July in the USA and on Thursday 19th July on Netflix in the UK. Here’s a glimpse at the new credits sequence too: https://youtu.be/HHEzkbnmKRs

 

 

Television Review – Suits 7×15 / 7×16 – Season seven comes to an unexpectedly unsatisyfing end

After only four weeks of new episodes, on Wednesday night we reached the end of season seven, with a double bill of episodes 7×15 (“Tiny Violin”) and 7×16 (“Goodbye”). The show had a fair amount to cover in the two hours and sadly, my overwhelming feeling on finishing the episodes (especially the second hour), was one of disappointment, caused by a number of factors (no, not just Darvey).

As they aired together, this review will dive in to both episodes, so forgive me for making this a little longer than usual. Thanks to @lovedarvey for the photo collages! Here goes………………

Specter Litt under attack yet again 

Specter Litt faced yet another attack as 7×15 began, with the former partners banding together to try and reclaim their buy-in money, lost in 6×01. Their whole argument – working at the firm jeopardised their future professional careers, as they were tainted by association (can I make a claim for it jeopardising my sanity too?).

With three big story elements already needing to be covered (Mike/Rachel wedding & leaving; the spin-off; and capping off all the Darvey build-up), this story wasn’t really needed, except to set up the expanded firm for season eight, most importantly including Robert Zane. I did enjoy seeing Louis stand beside his new partner against the enemy, which was far more satisfying than other aspects we were promised would be.

A merger of the two firms has been floated before and it’s a little odd that this is finally happening now that Rachel won’t be in the show. I understand that we needed to see Harvey stepping up in to that managing partner role, but having more time to see Rachel working and perhaps clashing with her dad would have been fun, but I’ll move along, as this isn’t really the biggest missed opportunity we need to talk about! I wish it was.

To be fair to the writers (and this will be the only time I say that in this review), 7×15 on its own was a decent episode, which is tainted by the hour that followed it and this storyline did at least give us Harvey and Louis working as a true team – no yelling, no mud slinging, no blaming one another; they just got on with working together to protect their home. I particularly liked Louis standing up for Harvey the moment Alex suggested exactly what Louis once suggested to Jessica, that he take over in charge for a while. I like you Alex (and more Dule Hill will be welcome next season), but I don’t like you that much! The scene with everyone together from the firm at Harvey’s was also nice to see, highlighting the bond they share, which I dearly wish had been carried through in to 7×16 (I’m getting to that).

With the groundwork laid for a bigger firm filled with rivalries and game playing next season, it’s good we ended the year with Louis and Harvey, at long last, working as a team. I just hope this lasts longer than five minutes in to 8×01! Oh and will it be ZSL next year? The fact that acronym is the same as London Zoo will, I know, amuse only me.

One last clinic case for Mike

Not only did we have the firm under attack, but we also saw the clinic under threat due to its latest class action involving children with lead poisoning, covered up by the company responsible. So, right up Mike’s street.

As the horrifying reality of the harm caused was discovered by him, we had one last opportunity to see just how supportive of each other Mike and Rachel are, as they discussed the case at home, with Rachel providing encouragement, love and support to the man she was going to spend her life with. I never tire of seeing these two on screen together and 7B has really highlighted their bond and their maturity as a couple (unlike others in this show).

Having the clinic case yet again highlight to Mike the impossible position he is in, straddling the corporate and clinic lines, was a logical way of underpinning why he would be willing to leave the life he had. As he says to Harvey, it’s time (albeit giving him more than half a second to say it would have been nice, writers!); time for him to go out and be the type of lawyer he was always meant to be (well, assuming he passes the Washington State bar – no cheating now Mike). Plus, thanks to Louis, in one of my favourite scenes of the two episodes, the clinic can live on without him, at least for a while.

Even Scottie knows the Darvey truth of it all!

We’d seen the news that the lovely Abigail Spencer was returning for an episode and I had my fingers crossed this would be to show Harvey that she’d moved on and to give him some Donna-related truths. At least half of this came to pass when, after being drawn yet again in to the firm’s mess and sensibly refusing to taint her reputation for Harvey, she was back to play what I hope is a vital role for Darvey.

On effectively asking Harvey if he wanted to date (couldn’t she be settled and happy by now?), he admits to dating his therapist who he went to to “fix himself” as she puts it. I assume this was the writers’s way  of acknowledging that that relationship choice was a giant mess, by the awkward / embarrassed way he admitted it. Yes, Harvey, that was a stupid decision.

Showing more emotional intelligence than Paula Agard did in 13 episodes, despite her so-called medical degree, Scottie zeros in on the biggest obstacle to having a romantic relationship with Harvey – Donna and his feelings for Donna and on seeing her guess is correct, by his cagey answer and face, she’s out. Getting in the middle of that would be crazy, right? No one would choose to do that knowingly would they? Oh…….wait……

This was a superb scene and Gabriel’s silent emotional acting yet again was on point. He gives so much without words, it’s incredible. You actually see, for the first time, the look of realisation and shock pass over Harvey’s face. Was this a lightbulb moment? Is now the only thing standing between him and Donna his false understanding of her feelings? Will the writers even acknowledge this next season? Who knows. Surely bringing Scottie back for this and then not following through would be pointless, but after their writing decisions for the finale, I’m no longer sure of anything.

And talking of Darvey………..

Donna & Harvey – back to normal! Wonderful…….

Season seven has undoubtably been the heaviest Darvey-filled season so far and the further through the episodes we got, the more I started to wonder whether I’d been too cynical, whether there may be real progress by the end of 7×16. Am I disappointed with where their relationship has been left? Of course. Am I surprised? Not really.

As those who’ve read my earlier reviews know, I get most annoyed when the plot doesn’t make sense of the pre-existing narrative (yes, I’m talking about you, 7×01) and if you step back and look at the season as a whole, it was certainly heading in a romantic direction. We all knew Paula would never stay in the picture. It was an unethical relationship from the outset and she was never going to replace Donna in Harvey’s life, because no one can, which Scottie highlighted in mere seconds.

Yet, after 14 episodes of watching the pieces move on the board, from seeing Harvey become a man ready and willing to have a real relationship and be on good terms with his mother, to them openly addressing their blurred lines, Harvey choosing Donna and even after Mike spelling out his view that the two of them being together was something he thought was a great idea (listen to your son, Harvey), there was no conclusion to the season’s heavily- featured Darvey narrative. Aaron Korsh and the writers have done a fantastic job this year, weaving in references, subtle and not so subtle, to the importance of the other in both their lives and yet this season’s chess game (as Gabriel called it) didn’t lead to a checkmate.

Instead, we had the “we drank a whole bottle of scotch and talked all night and now we’re back to normal” scene, which was sweet, but ridiculous in the wider context of the season. Back to normal, guys? Really?! Oh, come on! This is getting old now. The fact they are using scotch as a sex substitute at this point is bonkers. Unless of course they mean they spent all night drinking scotch in bed. If so, then please carry on!

Then there was the wedding, from which we’d already seen those photos weeks ago. With hindsight, I wish we hadn’t now, seeing as it only raised my expectations for us finally getting the elusive “more” we have been waiting for. Did I love the dancing and the gazing across the aisle (you know, in that way all friends do……….)? Obviously.  Was it lovely to see them arm in arm walking down the aisle? Of course! The problem is, I’m starting to get frustrated with the crumbs, which only ever seem to lead the narrative so far and then pull back. Clearly the editing of Mike’s vows over the top of Harvey and Donna was deliberate and teasing the audience, but don’t be so blatant if it’s never going to happen.

I’m not an advocate of the giving any one set of fans the storyline they think they deserve in a show. It’s being written for more than just one fan base after all, but Suits is reaching the point of taking the slow burn tease too far and fans who feel frustrated will only stick around so long. As I said in my review of 7×14, the Darvey drag is starting to feel repetitive and could risk becoming as boring to watch as the perceived boredom the writers fear happening by putting them romantically together on screen. They’re lucky we all love Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty so much to keep watching.

Season seven, more than any other, felt as though it was going somewhere for their relationship. They were acknowledging it in a way they never had before and in my view, there needed to be a climax to all of that. It didn’t need to be much – I’m not unrealistic. I understand how television works. A conversation about having a conversation would have been enough; a nod towards the fact they’d both perhaps not admitted the truth, possibly fuelled by Harvey’s need to act on that moment of seeming realisation with Scottie; an acknowledgment that there was something between them they can’t ignore anymore.

Yet, now, the way the season was left, they can, and knowing these writers, I suspect will, ignore it. With new main characters (did we really need that?) and new threats bound to arise, this would have been the time to really take this somewhere and now they haven’t, I have reverted to my old, cynical view, that I’ve had since the early days of watching Suits – that it won’t happen until the very end. I just hope Aaron Korsh is given warning of when that will be, as before this week’s finale, I’d have said with confidence that they’d never rush a key element of this show, but now…….all bets are off.

………which leads me to the biggest and most unexpected disappointment of the finale and the entire season, if not the series to date…………

A 5 minute farewell to two central characters who deserved more


We’ve all known Mike and Rachel we’re leaving for a while. Even before the official announcements, it was obvious that both Meghan Markle and Patrick J. Adams were ready to move on and the show’s creator made clear that they’d been planning for it for some time.

Wonderful! Lots of time then to create a thoroughly deserving farewell to two of the show’s characters after seven seasons! Right……..?

Or not.

I still cannot believe how rushed the Mike / Rachel departure was in this finale. Yes, they needed to give time to bedding in the foundations of the new Jessica spin-off, but the focus, especially in the back half of the finale, should have been on these two characters, who needed to marry and depart in a satisfying way.

The Chicago thread could have been wrapped up in less time (some of those scenes could have been in episode one of that show), leaving us to focus on what has always been at the heart of Suits – family. It wasn’t an accident Mike soon had none, meaning the firm became his family and that theme has always been a strong one.

Instead, the promo had effectively shown us the whole wedding. I’m not denying that what we did see wasn’t lovely. It was heart warming to see Mike and Rachel commit to each other for life, full of smiles, before dancing in each other’s arms with their friends, but how was doing that in under 5 minutes seen as an acceptable way to handle this vital storyline?!


Yes, we saw Mike say goodbye to Harvey. We had two lovely scenes for them, the one before the wedding, with all the banter we’ve all grown to love and then the emotional scene at the bar, in which Mike tells Harvey he isn’t coming back. It was a beautiful scene, the one that made me the most emotional, thanks to these two actors highlighting yet again how integral to the show their relationship is (and Gabriel’s expression of Harvey’s silent grief at the loss was quite something to watch). However, having Mike literally drop the news on his friend out of nowhere was utterly out of character, but then we’d already seen him seemingly fine to get married without his best man, so out of character was a theme of this finale. These people are a family (apparently Mike mentioned that in his vows, not that we had time to hear them), so surely such monumental news deserved a group scene?! The episode was called Goodbye, yet no one really said it! Their decision could have been made in 7×15 and woven in to the scene at Harvey’s apartment with everyone there to acknowledge that this would be their last fight together. It would have added depth to the moment!

As it stands, we didn’t see anyone say goodbye to Rachel, who clearly will never be back (I hold out hope we’ll at least see Patrick in the very last one). The news could have been included in her scene with Donna. Yes, we had a lovely moment where the two said how much they loved each other and Sarah Rafferty and Markle made the emotion clear, but why not tell Donna why the wedding was being moved up? Why didn’t Donna ask? Yet another strange writing choice if there was to be no big group farewell scene. Plus, we did get two lovely Mike / Louis moments across the two episodes, but that wasn’t the same as goodbye and Louis and Rachel’s bond has been a gem on the show, which again saw no closure.


Did the writers forget that although, the audience knew the actors were leaving, their characters didn’t know?!

It’s fair to say fans often want more than can be aired, due to time, but it’s not unreasonable to expect a goodbye scene when two integral members of the series are leaving and may never be seen again (please come back Patrick, we need it now, more than ever). Jessica had more of a farewell in 6×10 and she was back every 5 minutes! Ironically, after preparing for Darvey disappointment, I was not prepared to be let down in how this Goodbye was handled and it makes me question whether the writers and creator will ever be able to give the show a truly satisfying ending, whenever that is.

Dirty, yet dull, dealings in Chicago

The main reason why Mike and Rachel were so short changed was clear – the need to introduce Jessica’s spin-off. Ironically, 7×16 should have been called Chicago, rather than Goodbye, seeing as the focus was on the spin-off, rather than the end of an era of Suits itself.

I’ve always loved Jessica and Gina Torres and having missed her in the show regularly, had been looking forward to seeing her back and yet I find myself saying something I didn’t expect to say – there was too much Jessica Pearson in this finale.

Yes, they needed to set the scene for a new show, but they didn’t need to dedicate as much time to it as they did, or the Chicago plot line could have been woven more firmly in to the existing world of the show. Look at how Arrow introduced Barry Allen ready for The Flash. Hell, Angel simply said he was off and disappeared through the smoke in Buffy in to his spin-off! There was just too much here. I enjoyed seeing the different tone being set (this will clearly be slightly darker than Suits) and I loved having Harvey and a Jessica side by side again, but the balance of the episode was wrong, taking vital time from the main storyline.

Not only that, but the cutting back and forth to Jessica during the wedding was criminal in my opinion. It was already a blink and you’ll miss it wedding, so chopping it up more was crazy. I yelled at the screen when that gorgeous Mike / Harvey hug was cut off for a full Jessica / Jeff row. It took away from a key moment in a way that is unforgivable, only made worse by the decision to end the episode, not on the happy, celebratory family we love, but Jessica staring out of a window! Seriously?! What were they thinking?!

Ironically, the result of this is to have the opposite effect on me to the one they were no doubt hoping for. Instead of the spin-off being something I am excited to see, it’s now something I might catch up with if I get round to it. The fact it was used to spoil Mike and Rachel’s departure has already tainted it for me and it will take some time for me to be able to forgive the writers for that.

Who edited this finale?!

I don’t remember ever feeling irritated by Suits when it comes to the edit and recently the episodes have been strong, from a pacing and visual perspective (7×11 stands out for me). Yet, the finale felt as if it was edited by a new team altogether. The pacing was poor, which is more the fault of the episode’s content imbalance, but some of the cuts chosen here were, frankly, dreadful.

I’ve already mentioned the wedding/spin-off editing. With this sequence already so short, you’d have expected it to at least be uninterrupted, or cut from say, Harvey and Mike to Rachel and Donna, but no, we all really wanted to see those Jessica scenes, right?

Then there was the blatant use of material from last week. Was so much time spent on the Chicago plot, that in the edit room they realised they didn’t have enough other material? I would have liked Donna overhearing Louis and Alex argue, before hurrying to fetch Mike home to help, were it not for the glaringly obvious fact that this was recycled from 7×14! Fashion is always noticed in Suits, even by casual viewers (my mum being a prime example) and having Donna in last week’s outfit in one scene and then suddenly in another minutes later stood out a mile! Come on Suits, please do better. Your audience pays attention.

Looking ahead to season 8………

I admit, after the disappointments of the finale, I’m not quite ready to think about next season, but it’s how I always end these reviews and I have three months to find my enthusiasm. So, here’s my wish list.

1. Donna, or Louis, watching a recording of the wedding to give me all the bits I feel cheated out of (yes, I know this is unrealistic, but it’s my wish list, okay?)

2. Katherine Heigl’s character NOT dating Harvey! Just don’t do it, Mr Korsh. I beg you.

3. More backstory for Donna, as she is still the most underdeveloped series regular in terms of her life away from the firm.

4. Mentions of Mike and Rachel – gone but never forgotten.

5. Harvey’s mother back and meeting Donna.

6. Lots more Dr Lipchitz – hard to believe he’s only been here a year!

7. More Gretchen & Katrina (we really didn’t need new characters with so many ones already in the show).

8. Donna kicking ass in her job. No more digs at her qualifications. Let her shine.

9. More progress for Donna & Harvey’s relationship! It’s time! Otherwise, what was the point of everything that happened this season?!

10. If this ends up being the last season, Patrick in the last episode. It can be by phone, or in person, but the show can’t end without Mike Ross!

Will any of these happen, who knows, but I have to keep some hope! Until next season, thanks for reading Suitors!