Television Review – Suits back at its best in episode 7.09 “Shame”

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I’m a little later than usual this week with my Suits review, but wanted to post my thoughts on episode 7.09 anyway, seeing as this was probably my favourite episode so far of this less satisfying season seven. There wasn’t actually much I didn’t like about it! It was so much more satisfying than the 100th in terms of storylines. We had strong plots for everyone this week, with Louis dealing with the shame of his actions, Rachel working with her dad, Mike trying to have fun with Harvey, which goes slightly differently to what he had planned, Gretchen kicking ass, Donna dealing with the choices she’s made in her life and all of PSL gearing up for another excruciatingly personal mock trial. Throw in some fabulous song choices and this was the type of episode you’d expect for a milestone hour.

So, as usual, let’s delve a little deeper in to the episode……….

Louis Litt walking the walk of Shame (insert bell ringing) & lashing out again!

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I have to start by saluting the writers’ homage to Game of Thrones with the brilliant scene in which poor Louis Litt starts to have regrets about his night with Sheila, visualised through him following in Cersei Lannister’s footsteps. These types of scenes are always some of my favourites in Suits, where it doesn’t take itself too seriously and it ensured an amusing start to the hour. We also saw, yet again, the consequences of Louis’s choices impacting on those around him, as he lays in to Brian, a character I already like quite a lot, only to realise how out of line he has been by the end of the episode! I really do hope we see much more of Jake Epstein in this role, especially with Louis, as they have the potential to be a lovely duo.

Zane & Zane take on the world!

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Rachel has always had a difficult relationship with her father and one of the few enjoyable aspects of season seven for me has been seeing the two of them become closer, culminating in them taking on this case together this week.

The fact it is personal for Robert Zane adds an extra layer of depth and I’m looking forward to seeing whether this experience causes Rachel to consider moving firms permanently. Wendell Pierce is fantastic in the role and seeing Robert proud of Rachel was genuinely lovely. Not enough credit is given to Meghan Markle for her role as Rachel, who yet again this week, was not only a great lawyer, but also a wonderfully supportive friend for Donna, in what was one of the best scenes of the episode.

Let’s have a round of applause for Gretchen! 

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Who doesn’t love Gretchen? She has been an asset to the show ever since she first breezed in to the office to put Harvey in line and let him know he wasn’t manly enough for her! We haven’t had nearly enough screen time for her this year, but Aloma Wright was superb this week, as Gretchen had to put Louis down for his terrible behaviour and then still have his back, ensuring that by the end of Shame, Louis and Brian (his very own Mike) are closer than ever.

Introducing Andy Malik, the new troublemaker

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I already quite like Deputy Attorney General Andy Malik (played brilliantly by Usman Ally), possibly because his storyline opens the door to the progression of the Donna / Harvey storyline (more on that below), but it was also nice to see someone not intimidated by Harvey and more than able to play dirty to try and get what he wants. My only complaint was the way this story was introduced, with Mike deciding Harvey needs to pick a fight with a big bully in order to look macho in the legal world. That was pretty lame in my opinion, but I’m looking forward to seeing just what the PSL family have to do to beat this opponent.

The setting up of the oncoming Harvey / Donna storm……..!

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Well, it’s been a strange year so far on the Donna and Harvey path. After the out of the blue parachuting in to the story of Paula Agard, they have been much more distant this year, with not just their potential relationship, but also their close friendship taking a nosedive. It’s not been particularly enjoyable seeing them this way, especially seeing Donna so unhappy at a time when she should be enjoying the higher status she has achieved.

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Shame provided some vital signposts on the potential Darvey path (I still think they will end up together, even if it isn’t until the last episode). We’ve seen Donna recognise and make peace with her feelings for Harvey and accept he is seemingly happy with someone else. This week we saw her make the crucial admission that she had put him above herself and that this is something she now regrets. This was a brave statement from Donna and suggests that she is perhaps ready to take her life in a new direction, possibly one without Harvey.

Then came the key to the episode – Andy Malik’s goal to discredit Harvey and use Donna to achieve it. Both of them acknowledged this week that any such cross examination of Donna will be brutal, with her personal relationship with Harvey, a bomb waiting to explode. Sucker Punch has always been my favourite episode of Suits, so the fact we saw them referencing that episode and the last mock trial, intimating Louis is about to do this for a second time, is incredibly exciting. A storm is brewing and I can’t wait to see it unfold, as it is sure to have serious implications for these two characters.

Looking ahead – this mid-season finale is going to be tough..!

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First things first, how brilliant is it that the mid-season finale is entitled Donna?! That title sets the tone before we’ve even seen the episode. Donna has been through so much this season and 7.10 now presents the possibility of her facing the humiliation of another mock trial, in which her sleeping with Harvey must come out (Louis does know this information after all) and her possibly taking the stand in court (although I still think it’s unlikely both of these scenes will happen in one hour).

Throw in the promo’s tantalising clip of Mike telling Donna to tell Harvey how she feels, the stunned, upset look on Harvey’s face in the promo and still photos and Agard in the mix and this is looking set to be a gut-wrencher of an episode, which I’m assuming will end on an angst-ridden cliffhanger. Will Donna walk away? Will she admit to Harvey she loved him, but has let him go? Will he finally wake up to the truth of his feelings, ready to address them in the back six?

There’s also the inclusion of Jessica (as creator Aaron Korsh has suggested in interviews that Gina Torres would be in episode 9 or 10). Will she offer Donna a job, or at the very least a short-term position to help her in Chicago? I actually have no idea, which makes it very exciting indeed. I just hope we are not disappointed. My fingers are very firmly crossed!

The Suits season seven mid-season finale, episode 7.10 “Donna” airs on Wednesday at 9/8C on USA Network in the USA and via Netflix in the UK on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

 

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Television Review – Suits 7.08 – The 100th: a classic case, but some very disappointing character “development”

It’s certainly an achievement these days for a television show to reach 100 episodes and this week saw Suits celebrate the milestone with a mixed bag episode. I liked aspects of it and I strongly disliked other aspects of it, which make me concerned for the direction of some of my favourite characters going forward.

As always, I’ll start with the aspects of the episode, entitled 100, that I thought worked well.

Robert Zane is the King! 

This week’s episode had one true king and hero and that’s Robert Zane. Why would you work at PSL if you could work for this guy?! I mean, seriously?! I knew Robert would save the day on the prison case, which became the main thrust of this episode and he did it brilliantly. He showed not just the evil CEO, but Harvey and Mike that he is the boss and that compared to him they are all little boys pretending to be grown ups. Wendell Pierce is never around enough and it was great to see him really shine here. My only disappointment was that he didn’t follow through in hitting Harvey. I was counting on you Robert!

Rachel Zane stepping out of the shadows

I have always liked Rachel. She is one of the most decent characters of the central cast and is usually the voice of reason. My problem has always been that Meghan Markle is under-utilised in the show.

Therefore it was great to see Rachel sticking up for herself here and wanting to step up in to the game. She was also, yet again, a great friend to both Louis and Donna and her text messages towards the end of the episode helped prevent one of my beloved characters plummeting off a cliff personality-wise (more on that later), so bravo to Rachel this week.

Also, the death of Gallo rules out one theory I had that his reappearance would eventually lead to the possible death of Rachel. I really hope Meghan Markle stays with the show. She would be missed if she left.

The talented direction of Patrick J Adams

It was lovely that Patrick J Adams was able to direct this milestone episode and he did a superb job as usual. Adams has a brilliant eye for directing and every shot looked gorgeous. He clearly knows what will look great on screen visually. The rooftop scene was lovely and the warm lighting in Harvey’s apartment, not to mention the intercutting of the final montage between Louis and Donna worked very well. Let this talented young man behind the camera more often!

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Okay, those were the positives. Now for the negatives and I’m disappointed to say that there are some pretty strong negatives…..

Bring back the old Donna Paulsen! Please stop this direction of her character! NOW!

I have always loved Donna (and Sarah Rafferty continues to be superb in the role) and a lot is always said about what a strong woman she is. The route the writers are taking her down this season is a contradiction that perplexes, frustrates and saddens me.

If a romance between Donna and Harvey is off the table, whether permanently or in the short-term, that’s fair enough. I never watch a show feeling I or any subgroup of fans deserve a certain storyline to happen (even though, narrative-wise they still seem destined to be, in my view). That aside, the writers could have chosen to further strengthen Donna on screen, but are moving away from that. In a season in which she has been given a huge promotion to COO, thereby raising her profile, status and screen time (all fantastic choices!), they have also, in my view, weakened her character through their choice of direction for her relationship with Harvey.

Only those casual viewers, or perhaps those invested in another relationship, would believe, seven seasons in, that the love between Donna and Harvey was one-sided. The only woman he has ever directly said “I love you” to is Donna, there was all his actions in Intent, there was the way he reacted when she left him, there was the 6.11 dream and their growing bond across the back end of season 6. I have male friends and this is not how we behave!

Yet, now, we are facing a Suits where Harvey is supposedly truly in love with his therapist (that’s my laughter you can hear), never loved Donna and Donna is left to be portrayed as the lonely, jealous woman, who has wasted her life pining for a man who doesn’t want her. That is not the way to celebrate a powerful woman on screen! I may not think fans deserve a storyline, but Donna, as a character, deserves better than this! Oh, and I note that the line from the promo in which she said she put Harvey first for too long was cut in the episode. How come Suits? Is it because you like dangling Donna as just waiting for Harvey in front of viewers. Take note – we don’t like it!

We could have had Donna revisiting an old flame and potentially finding her own happiness personally and professionally and yet she is left being offered to be a mistress?! Really?! In 2017?! So, only Harvey can be happy, while Donna waits around for him. No thanks. That makes her look ridiculous and me so angry with the writers. The only reason I am not sending Drogon (yes, I love GoT too) to reek carnage at this point, is that the writers did not have Donna go through with sleeping with Mark. Had she done that, her character would have been irreversibly damaged for me. For the moment, I simply remain hugely concerned for where she is headed.

Yet more pain for Louis Litt

It seems that the Suits writers just like making Louis’s life miserable and honestly, it’s getting boring now. Yes, fair enough, for one night, he has had a good time, but surely the consequences of that are going to make him miserable yet again.

Again, is Harvey the only one allowed to be happy?! Especially in the season where he least deserves it?! Rick Hoffman plays every scene of Louis’s with skill and depth and should have won an Emmy for this role years ago and I loved his scenes this week with the ladies, Gretchen, Rachel and of course Donna, but it’s time to stop the angst and give this man a break. It’s what he deserves.

Harvey’s “love” for Paula Agard

I’m sorry, but the introduction of this plot in 7.01 made no narrative sense off the back of seasons 5 and 6 and it continues to be ridiculous. It doesn’t ring true. I don’t think there’s any need for me to say anything more on it!

Where was Jessica?!

I know we’ve seen Gina Torres more than perhaps we all expected this year, but I was hoping for a brief scene for her in the 100th. She was a huge part of the show and is greatly missed, in a series that is becoming less about strong female characters without her presence.

Looking ahead…….

Next week’s episode is called Shame (fits perfectly with how I feel about elements of the show right now). From the promo, it looks as though we are back to business as usual. I guess we’ll see what I think about it next Thursday.

Suits continues its seventh season on Wednesday nights on USW Network at 9/8c in the USA and on Thursdays on Netflix in the UK.

 

 

 

 

Television Review – More glimpses in to the past in Suits 7.07 “Full Disclosure”

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This week saw the airing of the 99th episode of Suits and it had quite a lot to accomplish, ensuring all the pieces were moved in to position on the board ready for next week’s big 100th episode. Did it succeed? In my opinion yes, with Full Disclosure probably being my favourite of this seventh season.

So let’s dig in to the detail…..

Jessica Pearson doing what she does best

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I love how much Gina Torres has actually been a part of this season, much more so than I expected and the flashback element of this week’s story allowed her to return yet again. Seeing these past scenes between Jessica and Harvey and Jessica and Louis were great fun and provided some wonderful tidbits of backstory. She sent Louis to therapy! Makes sense (more on that later)! Plus, these scenes also acted as a reminder of just how childish her two children were. I mean, they still are let’s face it, but they have certainly grown up quite a lot over the years, all thanks to the brilliant Jessica. I’ve missed these scenes and hope Gina makes an appearance in the 100th (surely she has to).

The many emotional sides of Louis Litt

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My love of Rick Hoffman’s work this season has been one of the only constants and he did another great job tonight. The past and present scenes in Full Disclosure allowed us to see the many different emotional sides of Louis in one hour. He is such a fascinating character and the more we see of his past, the better.

This episode reminded us of how annoying he was in the early days and, the odd blow up aside, how far he has come emotionally. The episode started with the Louis Litt of old, reactive and pressing all of Harvey’s buttons and yet, by the end, thanks to his therapy, we see that it was Louis that did all he could to keep his friend at the firm. It’s always a rollercoaster watching Louis and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

This week, however, there was one element of Louis’s scenes that I did not like and that was his insults of Dr Lipschitz. Yes, Louis has always pushed the envelope with regards to some of his politically incorrect comments and yes, they can be funny, but I have to say, I found him calling his therapist a Nazi after he told him he was Jewish and from descendants who survived the war, incredibly distasteful. I also think it was too far, even for Louis. Too far writers, too far.

Mike Ross – Will he stay or will he go?

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I genuinely can’t decide what I think about Mike this week. For the majority of this season, he’s been the most mature man at PSL, but the last couple of weeks have seen him slipping back to the more annoying elements of his personality. Yes, I know he’s working to uncover some pretty terrible actions, but why does he always have to use illegal methods to do it, putting others at risk in the process? Asking Benjamin to break the law for him – not cool Mike. Stay away from Benjamin.

On the flip side, I did feel a little bit sorry for Mike too this week. Despite all he has been through with Harvey (he did go to prison for him remember, as Harvey reminded us), Harvey was pretty quick to choose Alex over Mike. I get that Harvey screwed Alex over to some extent, but, after all he has done to help Mike over the years, all of a sudden he hangs him out to dry. It just didn’t feel realistic in light of the show’s long-standing narrative (oh, look, it’s that word again, narrative – it really does matter writers). It may not have helped having Harvey choose a character we still barely know and don’t really care about yet, over his protege. Maybe, its just me, but I don’t really care about Alex yet. He hasn’t earned it.

Will Mike get fired next week? Maybe, but I doubt it. Will his involvement in this prison case have worse consequences in the long run (I still worry for Rachel’s fate on the show, I can’t help it)? I guess we’ll see. I just hope we see Mike solving things on the right side of the law. Oh, and Mike – stop lying! Please!

Donna Paulsen – the woman Harvey Specter doesn’t deserve

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It’s been lovely to have Donna and therefore Sarah Rafferty much more central this season. She’s always been one of the show’s biggest assets and the more we learn about her life and personal history, the better. This week saw the introduction of her ex, Mark Meadows (Jay Harrington) and my only complaint was that he was only in one scene! Come on Suits! We need more!

I know some people were disappointed that this week seemed to be one-sided, that is, Donna has always loved Harvey and showed nothing about his feelings for her. I was okay with that for the moment. To be clear, I have never wanted the writers to portray the Donna and Harvey relationship as one of unrequited love and their entire narrative pre-season seven has always included enough examples to show that it isn’t.

I’m therefore hoping that what we are currently seeing is the positioning of all the pieces on the board, so that everyone is aligned for something significant. Last week, we had Paula Agard of all people telling Harvey that he has feelings for Donna and that Donna loves him, which seemed to have triggered some sort of reaction by the end in that gorgeous long shot of their offices. This week, we had another external character, Mark Meadows, making Donna face the truth of her feelings for Harvey. Now the two sides just need to come together.

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The dinner scene with Mark was lovely (and reminded me a little of Harvey’s date with Paula from 7.01, with Donna distracted by the other man in her life). Here is a thoughtful, caring and pretty hot guy, who clearly loved Donna and threw more than just money at her. The man gave her Shakespeare for goodness sake! He’s a keeper Donna! The key here is that the introduction of Mark for only two episodes suggests that he isn’t here for the long-term, so if he isn’t, then he has to serve the larger narrative, which seems to be heading towards Donna deciding to move on from Harvey. Will she decide to leave? If this isn’t aligning everything to ultimately bring her and Harvey together, then I just don’t see the point of it, unless Sarah Rafferty is moving to Gina Torres’s new show and they are preparing her exit. I guess time will tell.

Will I ever really like Harvey Specter again? 

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Before season seven, Harvey was my favourite character on Suits and yet, he’s become the one I dislike most this year. Goodbye character development, hello douchebag, hurting everyone he supposedly cares about.

This week reminded me of something else about Harvey. He’s always tried to exert control over Donna’s life, often being possessive of her, while also arrogantly expecting her to always be there for him. I’ve always been able to overlook this, because there was enough evidence that he truly cared about her (hello, Intent, I’m looking at you in particular). It allowed me to overlook his more questionable behaviour – expecting her to always pick him, paying her salary and throwing it in her face, throwing a new bag at her, as if materialistic things are all that matters to her. Would he have bought her Shakespeare? Nope.

This year however, when we’ve seen almost zero evidence that he cares about her, his actions feel all the more unpleasant – expecting she’d just run after him to Bratton Gould, trying to pay for her anniversary with another guy (which, is just creepy, isn’t it?!). This episode seemed to be highlighting, that he has always been complacent of his relationship with Donna and I’m hoping that next week he’ll receive a wake up call, that she isn’t just going to be there when it suits him.

Will there be a redemption of Harvey’s character this season? Will I start to like him again? I really hope so.

Next week – The Big 100! 

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So, next week is the milestone 100th episode and I hate that my expectations are high for some pay off to all the story strands that have been set up. What can we expect? Well, we know that Mike is going to come up with a plan to keep the prison case alive. Will he succeed? Probably, but I assume there will be consequences through to the mid-season finale.

We also know Mark Meadows is back again and from the promo, it seems he’s arriving in the present day, to hopefully make Harvey jealous (as, if he isn’t sticking around to be a serious relationship for Donna, what is the point of him appearing at all if not to affect Harvey in some way?).  We also know Donna receives a proposition – a new job? Something with Mark? Does this link in to the emotional hug we see her giving Louis on that rooftop? I cannot wait to find out!

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We also know that Sheila Sazz is back! I assume she’s the person Louis sees at the end of the promo and I’m intrigued to see what effect she has on Louis’s life next week.

Oh, and then there is the other clip in that promo – the Agard / Donna reunion. I have all my fingers crossed that the writers don’t portray Donna as a catty, territorial woman, as that has never been her style and will not show her in the greatest light. Will Paula receive some greater insight? Will Harvey overhear them? I have so many questions!

The 100th has the potential to be a very exciting episode indeed. Fingers crossed we’re not disappointed. This time next week, all will be revealed!

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

Television Review – Truths and Lies in Suits 7.06 “Home To Roost”

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The last week seems to have flown by, but it’s that time of the week again for me to mull over another episode of Suits.

This week’s instalment was very much an hour revolving around truths and lies, with all of our main characters facing either the consequences of a lie (theirs or someone else’s), or some uncomfortable truths, all of which began to build a fascinating narrative that I assume will play out over the remaining four episodes of this first half of season seven.

As regular readers will know, I’ve been less than impressed with the direction of Suits during this seventh season, as old narratives seemed to be thrown out of the nearest window and I had a hunch this would be a make or break episode for me, once the synopsis revealed Home To Roost would include Harvey’s struggle to tell Donna about his “relationship” with Dr Agard. How they handled that and how they portrayed Donna was key for me.

So, let’s start there shall we?

Could two people be more confused about their feelings than Donna & Harvey?!

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This episode was perhaps the most revealing one so far in Suits history, when it comes to exploring Donna and Harvey’s feelings for each other. Yes, we had The Other Time, but that was the past and since then, things have been implied, or left open to interpretation. Home To Roost finally started to reveal some truths.

I’d been dreading Harvey telling Donna about Agard, not because I will have a tantrum at him being with someone else (well, not yet anyway!), but because I did not want Donna to be portrayed badly, falling to pieces in front of Harvey. I therefore breathed a huge sigh of relief on seeing the choices made on screen. First things first, Sarah Rafferty stole the show in 7.06, giving a beautiful, honest and very believable portrayal of a woman who is, after years of denial, finally facing the truth – that she loves Harvey and knowing he has chosen to be with someone else hurts her deeply, even though she wishes it didn’t. That is a hell of a lot of progress.

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I loved that she pretended she already knew about Paula, laying out to him exactly what he’d done in 7.01 so accurately and yet, making it clear to viewers that she was putting the pieces together as she was saying them. The look on her face as he left her office was utterly heartbreaking and some of Rafferty’s finest work on the show. you could see the emotional wheels turning in Donna’s mind.

We also finally had Donna voice the truth of her feelings to someone else and having it be Rachel was lovely. Meghan Markle and Rafferty on screen together is always a treat and it’s about time it was Donna opening up to her rather than the other way around and it was a good decision to have Donna wishing she didn’t have these feelings. I mean, it’s not ideal is it, when he is with someone else? I noticed the episode was written by one of the female writers on the show and I can’t help thinking that that was a huge benefit to such a key episode for Donna.

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That brings me to Harvey Specter. I still don’t like him this year (memberships for the Big Pile of Everyone Hates Harvey Club are open, just let me know if you want to sign up!), but we may at least be inching towards him finally acknowledging his feelings. I still hate how Agard is being used this year, but I actually enjoyed her putting a few truths to Harvey. Did you hear that Harvey? Even your girlfriend thinks you clearly have feelings for Donna. Hearing someone actually tell him that he has feelings for Donna and that she loves him was a huge step for this show and I’m excited to see how this plays out. The final scene between Donna and Harvey, in which they are both not being totally honest with the other was a heart-wrencher and full marks to both actors, the director and director of photography for that gorgeous last shot, of two people so close and yet still so far.

So, will Darvey finally happen this year? The door is either inching open or slammed shut right now. It’s all down to Aaron Korsh, but the narrative path must surely now be moving towards our favourite couple realising they are fooling themselves?! Surely?! Hopefully it’s just a matter of time now. I have my fingers crossed.

Mike is lying again – that didn’t take him long!

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While Donna faced some truths (and Harvey perhaps is starting to), Mike Ross was back to keeping secrets. He’s only been an approved lawyer five minutes for God’s sake!

Mike wanting to work on the prison case is admirable, but he made an agreement no to and in the real, adult world, that agreement means something. I’ve been a big fan of Mike this year; compared to Harvey and Louis, he’s been the only mature man at PSL, but this week saw the return of the more annoying version of Mike – the one who thinks the rules don’t apply to him.

Sure, law firms take on pro bono, but not cases that could ever conflict with their clients and I don’t see how Mike’s desire to help those really in need can ever work at PSL. Rachel was dead right when she said he had to choose and it will be fascinating to see whether that is a choice he is forced to make before the mid-season finale. In the meantime, Mike yet again risked the financial security of his original client on the prison case and it didn’t pay off. It’ll be interesting to see where this will go now. Maybe he gets Robert Zane to take it?

Shout out to Meghan Markle for some fab work in her scenes with Patrick J Adams. The two have strong chemistry and seeing Rachel deliver some hard truths to him was very satisfying.

Louis Litt – On the road to recovery (I hope)!

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Louis Litt’s arc so far this season has been my favourite aspect of what, for me, has been a confused narrative and Rick Hoffman just keeps getting better and better.

This week, we watched Louis face the truth that his behaviour had consequences and that honesty was the best way to resolve it (did you hear that Mike, honesty, maybe you should look that word up in a dictionary). By the end of the episode, we saw the best side of Louis; a man who is kind, thoughtful and decent and his gift to Brian was superb. Suits USA, where can I order one for my friends?!

It was also fun to see the beginnings of Louis’s potential mentorship of his own associate. Maybe he’ll finally have his own Mike. I already like Brian, so I hope we see much more of him. My only complaint was that we haven’t seen enough Katrina yet this year.

Alex Williams – just how dirty is this guy?

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It wasn’t only Mike lying this week, as we continue to see Alex Williams’ actions indicate that he is worried about much more than losing a client. I was pleased for Harvey to finally wake up from his rose-tinted view of Alex at the end of this episode and see that he is hiding something. I look forward to learning just how dirty he is next week.

Looking Ahead to Full Disclosure

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So, next week’s title is an interesting one and from the promo, I assume this will be where we learn exactly what Alex Williams has been up to and how it involves his past with Harvey. We already know 7.07 is a flashback episode, so I’m guessing we’ll see the early days of their friendship and how whatever history they have is going to potentially screw them over now. As I’m still not a huge Harvey fan this year, I’m hoping it’s going to hurt, just a little!

We also know that next week’s episode sees the introduction of Mark Meadows (Jay Harrington) as Donna’s ex. After this week’s episode forcing both Harvey and Donna to really think about their complicated relationship and Harvey’s reference to it bothering him when she was with Stephen Huntley, I’m very much looking forward to him discovering her hot ex is back on the scene. That’s someone else to be the object of her attention and affection Harvey – how does that sound to you? Hold on to your seats folks, things are about to get very interesting!

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

 

Television Review – Suits 7.05 “Brooklyn Housing”

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

Did I enjoy Brooklyn Housing?

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

I’ll start with the positives……

We are all proud of you Louis Litt!

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

Mike’s prison case & its potential ramifications

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

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

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

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

Donna Paulsen being portrayed as the poor, unloved woman

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

The weakening of Paula Agard’s character

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

Looking ahead – Chickens come home to roost

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

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

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

Television Review – Suits 7.04 “Divide and Conquer”

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I’m a little late with this review, but as this was, in my opinion, the best episode of this seventh season so far, I thought I’d take the time to enjoy writing some more positives about Suits while I can!

Back to business as usual

Divide and Conquer was back to the style of Suits we have known in the past. The team all pulling together for the good of the firm, making move and counter move to come out on top (well, for now anyway). The ridiculous side plots were nowhere to be seen and instead we were able to enjoy seeing everyone working together as a team. I love some conflict, but the constant fighting this year was getting tiring.

A big pile of people hate Harvey!

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Well, he said it! My opinion of my former favourite character has been my biggest disappointment in season seven and I have to say, seeing his terrible management style and attitude to those he supposedly cares about come back and bite him in the ass was very satisfying. Yet again, it was down to Donna to make him realise he was in deep trouble and then Jessica to help him grow up and fix things. He really would be lost without these two women wouldn’t he? I found the last scene with him alone in his office very telling. He is still struggling in this new role and has managed to isolate himself from those who have always been there for him due to his behaviour.

I’m hoping that we will start to see some of the old Harvey emerge now, but time will tell, if he’ll be able to stop being so horrid to Louis (I’m still not over his treatment of him last week), not lose it with Mike (when he learns he is disobeying him) and start treating Donna the way he used to until this season. Yes, he said she hadn’t let him down in 12 years, but other than that, he seems to have thrown their close friendship away and continues to act very differently with her. No, Harvey, she does not want to come back to your desk! Stop being so arrogant and show her some respect.

I still think he has issues he needs to talk through with a therapist, but look how well that worked out last time……..!

Is Alex Williams really one of the PSL family now?

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I still can’t decide whether I like Alex Williams or not. Is he genuine or does he have his own agenda that will only lead to trouble? He clearly has a history with Harvey, which I’m still curious to know more about and this week made it clear that he has skeletons in his closet that are likely to cause problems for him (and by default, PSL) later on. I have a feeling his involvement in Mike’s prison case is going to get very interesting indeed.

Mike Ross straddling two worlds

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The idea of Mike being able to do both corporate and pro bono work against large multinationals was never realistic really was it? His desire to do good in the world has always been a little at odds with the corporate clients and this week was the start of the storyline I assume will continue over the next few weeks. Oliver is certainly not as good a lawyer as Mike and the idea of him being able to fight a class action single-handed was crazy. It was only a matter of time before Mike went back on his word to Harvey. We all know how Harvey feels about loyalty and I assume there will be fireworks when he finds out Mike is hiding this from him, especially if it brings Mike in to conflict with Alex.

Can we all work for Robert Zane instead?

 

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I’ve always liked Robert Zane (brilliantly played by Wendell Pierce). You really could believe he runs a law firm, unlike Harvey and Louis who seem to be playing at doing it! He makes them just look like fools! It was lovely to see Zane willing to try and help PSL, clearly out of respect for Jessica (anyone else think they may have had a history in the past?!) and his love for his daughter.

I’ve always felt sad for Rachel regarding her desire to prove to her father she is a great lawyer. Wanting our parents to be proud of us is an emotion most of us can relate to and it was lovely to see Wendell Pierce and Meghan Markle on screen again. They have such a genuine and believable relationship and seeing them become closer by the end of this hour was a real delight. Maybe Rachel really should consider going to work for her father. His firm is certainly more stable than PSL right now!

Looking ahead – the Agard episode……(I can’t wait….)

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So, the promo for 7.05 makes it clear that part of the episode will deal with a case involving Paula Agard, which Louis is going to handle. Is she being sued and what is she hiding from Harvey? I’m already bored of this storyline and I just hope this new plot point actually starts to make the whole crazy narrative make sense.

As well as Agard, it looks like Mike’s run of playing by Harvey’s rules is over (that didn’t take long did it?), so I imagine they’ll be fighting again before the hour is over.

Enjoy the new episode tonight in the USA (on USA Network at 9/8c) and tomorrow in the UK (via Netflix).

 

 

Television Review – Suits 7.03 “Mudmare”

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Thursday morning means it’s time for a new episode of Suits, as season seven starts to find its feet. There was thankfully lots to enjoy this week, particularly if I ignored the elements of the current narrative that drive me nuts (you know what I’m talking about)!

So, on to my thoughts this week (all screenshots are thanks to Suits USA and Netflix UK by the way)…..

Mudmare for Louis, a dream for viewers!

IMG_6902Well, we can finally tick off off our wish list, the dream of seeing Harvey and Louis mudding together! It may only have been a dream (unlike 6.11, I saw this one coming Aaron Korsh), but visually it was everything I had hoped for and Gabriel Macht played it wonderfully. The fact they managed to weave this scene in to Louis’s anxiety about losing his friend was perfect and this opening provided some much needed light relief, which has been lacking from Suits for far too long. While we are talking about Louis….

The brilliance of Rick Hoffman

IMG_6911I’ve already commented this season about how superb an actor Rick Hoffman is and he continues to be one of season seven’s biggest strengths. His ability to move so comfortably between comedic and serious, emotional moments is hard to beat and this week was a rollercoaster for Louis Litt. It was lovely to see him and Donna playing off one another again, albeit briefly and I hope Hoffman and Sarah Rafferty have many more scenes together. As usual he also had all the best lines!

Louis has come so far as a character and at this point, the one thing that keeps pulling him down is Harvey, who continues to treat him with a level of disrespect that infuriates me. Louis may be emotional, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t right a lot of the time, especially the concerns he raised the week (as well as last week) about Harvey’s decisions for the firm.

I predict an explosion coming between the two named partners and the powerful ending of Mudmare made me a little concerned that Louis may be headed for his biggest breakdown yet. If I were Harvey, I’d keep out of his way, but as a viewer I hope we see him learn to regret his mistreatment of his so-called friend.

Women in power finding their feet

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This week was also a strong episode for the women of PSL, with both Meghan Markle and Sarah Rafferty having a chance to explore each of their characters’ new roles in the firm.

I tended to agree that Donna as a Senior Partner was rather silly, but having her now in a senior managerial / personnel role is a much better fit. Having her still finding her feet in this new function and admitting when she doesn’t always get things right was authentic and Harvey should take note of admitting when you mess up! I assume there will be more challenges ahead for Donna, but she’s more than up for the challenge.

Seeing her stand up for herself with Harvey was very satisfying too. They may have been a unit before, but it was great to see that she won’t blindly follow when she thinks he is wrong. How arrogant of Harvey too, to think that he can speak for her on all things!

Having Rachel take over the associates was another aspect of episode one that I found a little silly (I won’t repeat all my moaning about the premiere, don’t worry). Yes, she has been in the firm a long time, but in reality, a newly qualified lawyer would never be in charge of those years ahead of her. However, this is Suits and we need to suspend reality, so in this world, it was great to see her want to step up, especially when Louis was incapable of doing the job. I’ve always viewed Rachel as one of the most mature characters in the series and seeing her understand that a supervisory role was perhaps not right for her at this point in her career seemed very true to the person she is.

Rafferty and Markle don’t have nearly enough scenes together and so it was lovely to see them play both confrontational and conciliatory with one another this week. I hope we get plenty more of them over the coming weeks.

The enigmatic Alex Williams

IMG_6910He may have only just joined the PSL family, but I’m already questioning exactly what history Alex Williams has with Harvey. In every episode of this season so far, he has managed to flag up to Harvey some favour, or past incident, that he let go. It clearly must be significant and has the ability to influence Harvey’s decisions as managing partner, which I assume is only going to have further ramifications later on. Dule Hill is a fun addition to the cast and I’m intrigued to explore his character’s past with Harvey and how it will continue to impact on the present, as well as his relationships with Mike, Louis and the others in the firm.

The maturity of Mike Ross

IMG_6907While the new managing partner continues to falter in his role, it’s lovely to watch Mike flourish. We knew conflicts between corporate and pro bono would  arise and no doubt this week was only a flavour of what’s to come, but Mike has a new lease of life, free of the secret that limited his life in so many ways and the interview was a great way of acknowledging his past, without having to bring it up every time he works on a case.

We didn’t get much of the bromance between Mike and Harvey this week, with the exception of the fun scene in which Harvey’s creative headlines papered Mike’s office (Big Boy Pants: The Mike Ross Story was my favourite)! We did however see Mike continue to grow in confidence and stature and at this rate, he’ll be the one running the firm when Harvey and Louis kill each other! Bravo Mike, you win the award for Most Mature Male in the show for a third week running!

Then we come to Harvey………if you can hear me giving a deep sigh, then you’d be right….

The continuing decline of the once great Harvey Specter

IMG_6913Can someone please find the real Harvey Specter? He must be around here somewhere! I’ll get to his bizarre relationship, but that aside, we are still seeing a terrible version of Harvey this year. Is this setting up that perhaps, like Rachel, he’ll realise managing partner is not the right role for him? I still think Louis is the better choice for seeing what is best for the firm as a whole, but that’s a whole other topic.

Harvey (or Henry, as some of us fans are calling this imposter), may be starting to feel comfortable behind Jessica’s desk, but he is still miles away from being the leader she was and this week saw him using some unpleasant tactics to exert his will. Harvey has never been great at hearing opposing views, only ever really listening to Jessica and Donna and watching him use Louis’s personal insecurities against him in a business context, in front of Donna, only made me miss the old version of him more. It was cruel, unprofessional and is, I hope, something that will bite him in the ass.

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Then there is the as yet unknown cards Alex Williams is holding over him. He only needs to mention it and Harvey is falling over himself to do whatever he asks. Should corporate work come before pro bono at PSL? Yes, absolutely (sorry Mike, it’s business), but as Mike pointed out, this wasn’t a direct client conflict and it seemed clear Harvey would never have folded had it not been Alex’s demand. It will be interesting to see what other questionable decisions his past with Alex causes him to take and the divisions these will cause.

And then there is his insane “love” for Paula Agard. I’m not going to repeat myself from previous weeks (read my other reviews for that), but this plot line continues to baffle me. “Darvey” aside, I still don’t know where the writers are going with this. Yes, you have a connection with her Harvey – she was your therapist!! At least this week, Agard herself started to voice the questionable reality of their relationship (yes, it’s a terrible mistake, yes, it won’t work out and yes, you’ll look like a fool Paula). Why couldn’t she tell her mentor about it? She knew she would have told her it was unethical and unprofessional, that’s why and she’d be right! Oh, and if Harvey thinks it’s crazy to care what others think about their relationship, why didn’t he tell Donna about it when he had the ideal opportunity? Hmmm, Harvey? Nothing to say?

I will always hate how Agard has been reduced from the strong, professional woman that she was in season five, to simply being a plot device in the journey of Harvey Specter, but I truly hope Aaron Korsh and co have a way of having Harvey learn from this dalliance (it cannot last, surely?!). Whether that will ultimately lead to him and Donna getting together, who the heck knows these days, but I certainly don’t see that coming any time soon, if at all. Right now, I’d just like to see him being the type of man he used to be, before he fell and hit his head (or whatever happened literally overnight between 6.16 and 7.01)!

Looking ahead?

acfd389d76f022db4a8078bf92aeThe promo for next week doesn’t give us much detail, other than a battle with Alex’s former firm, who are looking to divide and conquer PSL. Maybe it would have been better Harvey, if  you hadn’t already opened a huge divide between you and Louis (who I expect will prove to be the better man than Alex come the end of the year).

Will we start to see the return of the old Harvey? Who on earth knows. I’m just thankful that, at the moment, I continue to love the other characters enough to keep watching.

Suits season seven continues on Wednesday nights on USA Network at 9/8 c in the USA and for UK fans, you can watch on Netflix every Thursday.