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

 

 

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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.

…….

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!

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)

Suits - Season 7

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Television Review – Suits 7×13 – It was Inevitable (and Emotional)!!

So, the third episode of Suits season 7B has been one that fans of the show (okay, mainly Darvey fans) have been anticipating for a few weeks now. As the airdate neared, there was talk this episode would be a game changer for the series. Having finally seen the episode, it may not have provided the explosions I had started to imagine were coming, but Inevitable was nevertheless a brilliant hour of the show and continues this incredibly strong run, as we reach 7B’s halfway mark.

Let’s get stuck in shall we?

The exquisite pain of Donna and Harvey’s relationship on full display

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The fact that, although it took half the episode to even touch on Donna and Harvey’s complicated, nuanced and utterly compelling relationship, this will be what stays with you by the end, says a great deal about the writing and acting on display this week. It was never going to be straightforward with these two and I for one am glad about that. It makes the narrative and the emotional centre of the show so much richer this way. There’s a lot to unpack here, so here goes! (Thanks to @lovedarvey for the collage picture above).

Sarah Rafferty’s Powerhouse Performance

Sarah Rafferty is always fantastic and has helped shape her character so much over the last seven years and Inevitable is one of her finest performances to date. We saw Donna at her most vulnerable and yet also at her bravest too.

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After displaying yet again her strengths in her role at the firm, combined with some flirtatious banter with Stu (I do love Stu – more of him please), Donna was faced with a truly heartbreaking experience; the betrayal of a friendship she had treasured and indeed held above all else for 13 years. You couldn’t fail to ache for her, as she stood before her friend (and let’s face it, the man she now knows she loves) and asked him to stand by her, stand by their bond and their history. Rafferty squeezed every drop of emotion out of that scene and had me wanting to simultaneously hug her and slap Harvey in the face (more on him shortly).

We then had to watch her plead with Paula to not force her to give up the career she loves. I really really felt so much anger towards Paula here, but I’ll save that for later. I’ll also put aside for the moment that it was ludicrous that Harvey firing Donna for this reason was a possibility from an employment law perspective (Suits isn’t legally realistic anyway, right?). It was another powerful moment in a very heavy, emotionally charged episode, where we also saw Donna’s inability to hide the fact that she has feelings for Harvey. Literally everyone knows that now other than him!

Yet, after thinking of herself for once by kissing him, she returned to her usual state of being this week – putting Harvey and his happiness above her own. Do I wish she didn’t always do this? Of course, but humans are complicated creatures, especially when feelings (whether acknowledged or not) are involved. Under the clearly false impression that Harvey doesn’t want more with her, she took the only route she could see to try to give them both a chance at moving on. Seeing her leave and hearing her resignation letter was beautifully handled by Rafferty and director Christopher Misiano and will stand out as one of my favourite sequences in Suits (top marks on the song choices too). She hadn’t counted on the unexpected though – Harvey’s emotional growth!

Harvey Specter’s emotional development is almost complete (and about time too)!

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True, I spent most of season 7A wanting to run Harvey over with his car, but 7B is shaping up to be the crowning glory of his growth as a man. Think back to the person we met in the pilot and compare him to the man we see at the end of Inevitable. It’s quite a transformation and the writers and Gabriel Macht should be very proud of what they have achieved with his character.

Was Harvey an ass for initially choosing Paula? Of course! He hurt the closest person he’s ever had in his life and I hope that will be acknowledged in the coming weeks. However, I don’t think he found it easy to do it; it clearly hurt him to be faced with the choice.

It also needs to be put in to context. This is a man, who, after years of casual sex and failed relationships due to his inability to open up for fear of getting hurt like his father, is finally ready to love someone and be loved. A large section of the audience may well be yelling “Wake up Harvey! It’s Donna!” at their screens (yes, including me), but he hasn’t been ready to see it. Add to that Donna’s recent lie – that she felt nothing when she kissed him and he is left with one horrible option – try and hold on to Paula and the stability she brings to his life, at the expense of his one constant. That would mess you up and let’s face it, he’s already a mess. Should he have said no immediately to her awful ultimatum? YES! But then we’d have no drama/story. Going behind Donna’s back to Stu was cowardly, but he was trying to ensure she had a future, which may result in him never having to choose at all and would still give her a positive professional life.

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Yet, by the end, choose he must and on being faced with the reality of a Donna-less existence, his action and his choice was clear immediately.

He chose Donna.

He chose to end a relationship he thinks is his best chance for love in order to hold on to his friend and show how important she is to him. There was no guarantee she’d come back to the firm and he has no expectation of anything more. Yet, finally, he truly fought for her and it was glorious to watch! Those closing moments were superbly brought to life by Rafferty and Macht and I truly felt all the emotion they poured in to it.

And thanks Suits writers for not choosing the obvious ending. Harvey could have easily gone inside Donna’s apartment; the old Harvey Specter would have. The new Harvey Specter knows he needs to process the pain, confusion and guilt that he feels (regarding both how he has treated Donna and Paula) and it was absolutely the right decision to have him walk away. I don’t want a cheap resolution to this complicated relationship and by ending Inevitable the way they did, both characters have time to heal and face the truth of their feelings (hopefully with some help from a certain couple), before taking a step towards one another. Speaking of that couple…….

The future looks golden for Mike and Rachel

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This week proved to be another fantastic episode for the future Mr and Mrs Ross. While Donna and Harvey continue to flounder in fear and miscommunication and Louis continues down the road to disaster (more on him later), Mike and Rachel prove to be Suits’ shining example of how to make a relationship work.

Everything they have been through has only made them stronger and despite a small stumble in this episode on the road to their future, by the end of the hour, they had demonstrated yet again that they are the couple in the show with a mature, grounded relationship. Will it be San Diego? Iceland (was anyone else waiting for Rachel to use Game of Thrones to convince Mike to consider it?!) or somewhere else? We don’t have long until we find out, but as I’ll truly miss them both, I’m going to enjoy every scene we get before we have to say goodbye to them.

Oh, and Aaron Korsh, you’ve shown us that you can write a strong couple in your show, who work together and love each other, without being boring. Remember that for season eight. You can absolutely do it again! You know who I’m talking about!

A return of the best bromance on TV!

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When Suits began, its cornerstone was Mike and Harvey’s relationship and this week we were treated to a return to the fun, light, comedic banter of earlier seasons. I particularly enjoyed the superhero moment. Nothing lasts forever, Harvey told Mike and the audience are aware that this is more true than ever with Mike’s impending departure. I’m still not sure I can imagine the show without Patrick J. Adams and the witty, affectionate, brotherly scenes we had this week are one of the biggest elements that I’ll miss.

Lily beginning to redeem herself by dropping the “Someone Special” bomb!

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All is forgiven Lily! Well, okay, maybe not quite yet after all the pain you caused your son, but I’m starting to like you after the most awkward dinner conversation imaginable! No, Lily, your son’s girlfriend is not the someone very special he told you about. Confused? Welcome to our world. It’s incredibly satisfying to see the writers pulling together story strands from the past with the present and having Harvey’s conversation with his mother from 6×12 come back to haunt him was inspired. How Paula didn’t end it right there and then, I have no idea!

That revelation aside, it was lovely to see Harvey more at ease with his mother after so many years of her shadow hanging over his life, even able to reminisce with her about his father. I was truly happy for both of them. Now, we just need Lily to meet the woman she really has to thank, because she needs to be educated about who the real “keeper” is in Harvey’s life!

Bye, Bye Paula. I can’t say it’s been a pleasure! 

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The re-introduction of Paula Agard in 7×01 will forever grate on me. The fact she was Harvey’s therapist meant I would never have agreed with such a narrative, one only made worse by the lack of any reference to her in season six, before that stupid first scene of the season seven premiere. Has her inclusion this season mainly driven me crazy? You bet, but at least these last few episodes have given a purpose to her existence – helping Harvey realise what really matters in his life. Hey Paula, you could have avoided a lot of pain if you’d simply stuck to being his therapist. For that reason, I have little sympathy for the inevitable heartbreak that hit her this week.

Taking a step back, can I understand Paula’s actions? To some extent, yes. She has clearly had a terrible romantic past, which has deeply affected her and needs help of her own to deal with that pain. I also understand her feeling threatened by Donna following that kiss. She is only human after all and although this ultimatum in the context of the show was farfetched and ludicrous, I’ve certainly heard of women telling their partners to have nothing to do with women in their lives because of their insecurities.

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Was Donna wrong to kiss him? Yes. I love her and it was right for her, but it was hurtful to Paula (forgetting for a moment her past professional role in Harvey’s life). Was Donna right to apologise to Paula? Again, I’d have to say yes and by doing so, Donna showed how her actions weren’t intended to hurt anyone. Was Paula’s demand right taking all of this in to account? OF COURSE NOT! She was expecting a man with issues she was well aware of due to her former role in his life (as his therapist, who was meant to help him), to separate himself from one of the most important relationships in his life! On reaching that point, she should have bowed out. If there is no trust, what do you have?

Christina Cole however, did a fantastic job with the material she had, meaning I couldn’t totally hate Paula and her scene with Rafferty was so painful to watch, but superbly handled by both actresses, as was her final scene with Macht, in which Harvey was finally honest with Paula – he really had wanted it to work, but he could never choose her over Donna.

I was worried she may still be around in 7×14, but I think we’re all safe now. You can mail the apartment key back Paula. No need to drop it off in person.

Being the bad boy does NOT suit you Louis! STOP! NOW!

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While Donna and Rachel have been pre-occupied in recent weeks, they haven’t been on hand to stop Louis from heading down the path to pain and disaster. Turn back now Louis! Before it’s too late!

Yes, I love Rachael Harris and Rick Hoffman together, as the result is always a joy to behold, but this storyline is anything but joyous, as they sneak around days before Sheila marries another man. Louis may have told Rachel he now feels like a king, but I have a feeling the crown is about to slip, as Louis realises that he really isn’t a bad boy. Listen to your therapist Louis and Gretchen. They really do know what’s best for you. It was strange watching these scenes in Inevitable, starting to laugh at the lunacy of their role-play, before remembering the context in which it was taking place and feeling annoyed.

I want better for Louis and I don’t like the fact I’m now really starting to dislike Sheila. Come on Suits writers, make this right!

Coming next week – The Parent Trap (the Suits version)! 

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We don’t know as much about what’s coming next week as we’d deduced before this week. We only have the short synopsis, which tells us Mike is trying to distract Harvey with a case. I assume that’s distracting him from the emotional turmoil he is now in, post break-up and post-betraying Donna. We also know Louis is struggling to keep up his affair with Sheila and we all know things never end well when Louis is unstable. The promo showed Katrina is back by his side in court, so hopefully she provides some support. It seems next week will also see Donna finally confide in Rachel about what has been happening with Harvey (about time!).

Then there is the main promo moment – Mike Ross finally speaking aloud to Harvey and not as a joke, the possibility that Donna is “the One”! Does he know Donna was lying to his friend at this point? Are him and Rachel trying to give their friends a wedding gift of their own? We can but hope! This is the brilliance of season 7B – every episode makes me excited for the next!

Suits continues next week with 7×14 “Pulling the Goalie” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the USA and next Thursday on Netflix in the UK.