I’ve needed a few days to digest (well, get over the shock, if I’m being honest!) of the mid-season finale of Suits, before committing my thoughts to the page. It’s been a bumpy road over the last ten weeks for me. There have been some wonderful moments, performances and ideas, but there have also been some questionable narrative choices, which had me feeling incredibly irritated (if you haven’t read my review of 7.01, that will give you an idea).
Thankfully however, this mid-season finale more than lived up to my hopes and astonishingly, exceeded them! Typical – just when I start to enjoy the series again, it’s time for yet another hiatus!
So, let’s delve in to episode 7.10, with the wonderfully tantalising title of “Donna”!………….
More screen time for Rachel Zane (about time too)
The last couple of episodes of season 7A have seen Rachel Zane step more in to the spotlight, as she works on a case with her father. Other than her pro bono case with Jessica last season, Rachel tends to stay in the background, a support in the storylines of other characters and so it’s lovely when Meghan Markle is given more material of her own. Rachel’s difficult relationship with her father has been there throughout the series and it has been incredibly satisfying to see the two grow closer together recently, culminating in this storyline in which Zane and Zane (it’s always fab to have Wendell Pierce back) take down the man who hurt her aunt. The scene with Rachel laying down the law to a boardroom of old, white men was pretty darn fantastic.
Oh, and one more thing before we move on, bravo to Rachel for continuing to be a fabulous friend. Her reaction to Mike helping Paula was spot on; she is Team Donna and it was great to see that so clearly!
Welcome to the family Alex Williams (it took me a while)
First, I love Dule Hill. He’s a wonderful actor, but I haven’t really connected with Alex Williams so far during his time in Suits. This mid-season finale though was when I finally joined the team and realised I liked this character and I hope this grows in 7B. Watching him kick some ass was fun and I loved the way he marched straight in to his old boss’s office. Suits has so many great actors to give material to, but maybe we’ll see more of Dule Hill, now that Alex William has finally settled in.
Jessica Pearson reminding me how much I miss her!
I knew Jessica was coming back in the finale, but I’m sad it had to be as the person taking a hit because of the choices of Harvey and Mike! There’s something else for you to be seriously guilty about Mr Specter! Gina Torres and Gabriel Macht have always had a fantastic chemistry in the show and this emotional moment was another one, as we see Harvey’s fear at stepping up without her supportive presence come to the fore again. He misses Jessica and quite frankly so do I!
The scene reminded me how Jessica often helped us see better side of Harvey (and probably helped him be better too); the kinder, more vulnerable side and it was nice to see that once again, after finding him so irritating for most of this season. It’ll always be PSL to me, even when her name comes down.
Mike Ross just wants his parents to be happy (time to talk to Dad though Mike)!
Mike Ross has joked about Harvey and Donna’s relationship to his friend and mentor on and off since the show began, but I’ve always thought he was only half joking. Just like Rachel (and to a lesser extent Jessica and Louis), Mike seems all to aware that his two “parents” have deeper feelings than simple friendship. Watch his face in Intent when Harvey says that Donna is different; you see him acknowledge the truth of Harvey’s feelings, even if Harvey won’t.
So, it was lovely to see his attempt to bring happiness to the lives of two people who he really cares about. He goes from helping Paula Agard get Harvey a gift (didn’t she just do that, what on earth does he need another gift for Paula? Feeling worried?), to encouraging Donna to express her feelings. That’s a really thoughtful gift Mike – a break-up! As a fan, I applaud you! My only problem with this tactic is that he targeted the wrong parent. It’s Harvey that needs this conversation Mike. Get right on that in 7B please. Off you go!
Yet another stunning episode for Louis Litt / Rick Hoffman (Give him an award already)!
I may have had my issues with 7A, especially the early episodes, but there has been one constant from start to finish and that is Louis Litt and Rick Hoffman’s superb performance of such a multi-faceted character. We’ve seen every emotion run through Louis so far this season and 7.10 provided a beautiful end note for him until the show returns. I loved the fact he finally used that dictaphone for good, not evil, to help Alex.
However, more importantly, it was his friendship with Donna and his own heartache that resulted in Hoffman bringing tears to my eyes in his final scene. After feeling he let Donna down, he unwittingly helped her by opening up about his feelings. That last monologue about losing his soulmate is one of the most moving scenes I have seen on television in a long time (beautifully written by Genevieve Sparling). Whether you’ve experienced something similar or not, you can imagine that feeling and I wanted to give him a big hug. It’s not too late Louis – go and get your soulmate! The fact this beautiful scene only acted as the catalyst for that ending, is the icing on the cake!
……. and so we come to the ending…..and what an ending it was…..I’m still in shock…..!
Donna & Harvey – one of television’s greatest romances (whether they are ready to face it yet or not)
It’s been a rollercoaster of a half season in the Donna and Harvey storyline. I haven’t liked where Harvey’s character was taken in the early episodes (and no, that’s not just because he is dating Agard; I hate that for other more substantial reasons), but he’s started to soften again in the last couple of weeks and I’m hoping the fall-out of that ending doesn’t propel him back down the path of being a douchebag! Resist Harvey, please!
Season 7A has also given us a greater exploration of Donna’s character, feelings and life and it’s about time too! We’ve seen her stand up for what she wanted and take on a position that, although you wouldn’t immediately consider for her, is one she can handle and thrive in. We’ve also seen her finally face the reality of her possible feelings for Harvey. It’s been the unspoken truth in the series and we’ve now had Donna acknowledge the frightening thought for her that Harvey may be her soulmate; the only one she wants to share her life with; frightening because he is seemingly happy with someone else.
All of those feelings of fear, uncertainty and love bubbled up as 7.10 progressed and on re-watching it, I realised that the ending was inevitable. Although I was stunned the first time, never expecting Donna to make such a bold, brave move, it was where the episode had always been heading….and it was a superb minute of television, propelling this couple further up any list of television’s great romances, even though they still aren’t even there yet! Those closing seconds were an acting masterclass by Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht (only made more emotional by yet another spot-on song choice in the acoustic version of Dean Lewis’s Waves).
Rafferty was superb throughout the episode, as Donna was emotionally ripped apart by Malik, her integrity called in to question because of her relationship with Harvey, but watching her react to Louis’s pain was heartbreaking. She is putting herself in his shoes, knowing that she could be potentially heading towards the exact same position and it terrifies her; the confusion, the fear, the pain – it’s all there in Rafferty’s expression and eyes, as she stumbles back on to that window ledge and her knee-jerk response on seeing Harvey before her felt very true to the moment. She needed to know how she really felt and maybe try and feel how he felt too. Does she have her answer now? I guess we’ll see in 7B.
The episode may have been called Donna and she may have been the instigator of that intimate kiss, but Gabriel Macht’s performance should not be underplayed in this episode. Yes, I’ve felt Harvey’s character has changed this year, but we saw his gentler side return recently and his need to protect Donna has always been admirable and in that final moment we saw a thousand different emotions flow through Harvey and all thanks to an actor able to convey immense depths of emotion without saying a word! You see the conflict in Harvey; the shock of Donna’s actions, the fact he cannot quite process it and the confusion it stirs up for him, which will no doubt be a huge part of 7B.
He may not speak, but it’s in his eyes, his face and my personal favourite subtle touch, his lips – there is the tiniest quirk of an upward smile to them, as he stands there in shock, before he pulls it back. It’s as if the realisation that Donna maybe does love him, just as Paula said, hits him, makes him happy for just a split-second, before the reality of everything else (the fact he is seeing someone else, meaning Donna has put him in a position he hates more than anything else, being the main one issue now). Beautiful, nuanced acting at its best Mr Macht!
Looking ahead – only 4 months to wait………
Well, credit where credit is due to Aaron Korsh and his writing team. They have managed to give a stunning moment for the Darvey fans, but also one that only leads to more questions.
Harvey and Donna were never simply going to fall happily in to each other’s arms easily. It wouldn’t be realistic. Now we are facing a much juicier narrative path, summarised by one of my favourite words for television drama – Angst!! I foresee arguments, angry words, angry, confused Harvey, all of which, I hope, helps us build to a satisfying resolution. I fully accept the writers may not bring these two together until nearer to the show’s end, but at least now there is a rich canvas of material for the series, centring around this dynamic, which I hope will eventually bring them together.
Harvey and Donna’s relationship aside – what else do I hope for in season 7’s back six episodes?
Well, happiness for Louis List. I mean, come on, the man deserves it! Whether it’s him winning back Sheila or meeting someone new, I really want to see that for him. I’d also quite like to see the long-overdue Rachel / Mike wedding, especially as I have a sinking feeling that Meghan Markle’s time on the show could be drawing to a close. Plus that wedding would bring even more angst for the best man and maid of honour!
We know we’ll be seeing more of Gina, as 7.16 will act as the pilot of what could be her new show (if it gets picked up) and I also look forward to more of lovely Brian, kick ass Gretchen and Katrina too. I also think Harvey’s mother will need to make an appearance, in light of the position he now finds himself in and I think this may help him see her in a new light. We really are lucky Suits has so many wonderful characters to draw on.
So, here’s to four months of speculation, analysis and online discussion. I’m just so pleased that my reaction to 7.10 was so different from my reaction to 7.01! Oh, and all fingers crossed for renewal news. I really would like a season 8, but the longer the silence on that subject goes on, the more worried I become.
Right….I’m off to rewatch those last two scenes again…..for the millionth time…..!
Suits will return to USA Network in the USA and Netflix in the UK in January 2018.