Theatre Review of 2019!

It’s that time of year again and as life has got in the way in the last few months, this is also my first blog post in quite a while. Hopefully looking back at the year will kick start my blogging ready for next year, but as far as 2019 is concerned, I saw fewer shows than I usually do (blame life again), brining my final total to 48 productions (11 musicals, the rest plays), 4 of which I saw for a second time, resulting in 52 theatre visits in total, across 3 countries. The year also saw only my second walk out ever (sorry Top Girls at the National, but you just were not my type of show).

I’ll be reflecting on my favourite theatre of the decade in a separate post, but for now, these were my top 10 shows of 2019! Do let me know what yours were.

1. A German Life (Bridge Theatre)

Photo Credit: Helen Maybanks

This really could be a joint first place, but when seeing Dame Maggie Smith on stage in a play was at the top of my theatre bucket list and was something I never thought I’d be able to see, the Bridge Theatre’s announcement of this show made my year. Thankfully, it also lived up to my expectations on both visits (as you can’t just book one ticket for Maggie Smith!), as this was more than a monologue; this was Maggie Smith taking us inside one woman’s life, but also vividly in to the past of Nazi Germany which, by the end, presented some very stark warnings to us about the world we live in today and where we could find ourselves. I’d certainly love to see her on stage again, but if this is the only time, then I’m so so grateful I was able to see her.

2. Present Laughter (Old Vic)

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Any announcement of Andrew Scott on the stage is cause for celebration in my view and I ended the decade seeing one of my favourite actors, on stage, at the very theatre where I first saw him, in Design For Living, back in 2010. I loved this production. Everything about it was wonderful; the superb cast, none of whom put a foot wrong, the gorgeous set design and costume and the fabulous music choices before and during the interval. It made me laugh, it made me tear up and I left the theatre both times with a big smile on my face and more than anything, it reinforced just how versatile Andrew Scott is as an actor, able to turn from over the top dramatics, to a vulnerable soul in moments. And the good news? It’s now an NT: Live production, which is just as enjoyable on a cinema screen.

3. Betrayal (Harold Pinter Theatre)

Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

Betrayal is my favourite of Pinter’s plays and this production is my favourite so far. Each of Zawe Ashton, Charlie Cox and Tom Hiddleston were excellent in conveying the complicated dynamics of the inter-relationships between these three characters and the simple set really helped in keeping the focus on the actors.

4. Death of a Salesman (Young Vic & Piccadilly Theatre)

Photo Credit: Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Despite seeing a fair few Arthur Miller plays on stage, I’d never actually seen Death of a Salesman and I think I’ve likely been spoiled with my first experience thanks to the Young Vic’s production. Watching Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell’s re-imaging, which changes the Loman family to a black family in New York, it’s honestly hard to imagine how this wasn’t the original intention. Led by the superb Wendell Pierce and Sharon D. Clarke, this was an incredibly powerful production, which stayed with me for a long time after both my visits to it. As it closes its West End run on 4th January, you still have a few days left to see it if you can.

5. The Watsons (Menier Chocolate Factory)

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

The fact I saw less shows this year may be why this is the first of two that appear on this year’s list, as well as last year’s one. It may though simply be because of just how damn good they were. Having first seen The Watsons in Chichester, I was thrilled when it arrived in London and with almost all of the same cast too. It’s hard to talk about this play without giving things away, but what I loved about it is that it’s not simply a typical Jane Austen story. It also speaks to what it’s like to write, to bring stories and characters to life on the page and I loved that so very much. The good news is The Watsons is getting a deserved West End run in 2020 and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

6. The Inheritance (Noel Coward Theatre & Barrymore Theater, NYC)

Photo Credit: Samuel H. Levine

This play took the top spot on last year’s list and the final London performance was one of my first shows of 2019 too. Therefore, I couldn’t miss the chance to see it again when it transferred to Broadway, especially when all of my favourites from the London cast were going too. It was fascinating watching it in NYC and seeing which scenes evoked the strongest audience reactions (some I thought would, didn’t). The changes made since London (mainly to Part 2) were largely beneficial to the story and the experience of seeing The Inheritance proved to be just as powerful and emotional as it was in London (although, overall, I preferred the London cast). The show is still running in NYC, so if you have a chance to see it, it’s certainly worth your time.

7. Nine Night (Trafalgar Studios)

Photo Credit: Helen Murray

Most people saw this during its original National Theatre run last year, but after missing out due to work, I thankfully had a second chance to go once it transferred to the Trafalgar Studios. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Nine Night, but it was so brilliantly written and performed and the lasting memory I have of it is how much I laughed and how much the audience loved it, creating such a wonderful atmosphere in the theatre.

8. All My Sons (Old Vic)

Photo Credit: Tristram Kenton

The second entry for the Old Vic on my list and another Arthur Miller classic. With such a strong cast, including the mighty Sally Field (and young British talents Colin Morgan and Jenna Coleman), my expectations for this were high, but I wasn’t disappointed, as the play weaves through the complex relationship of a family touched by tragedy, before ending with a big emotional gut punch. I hope this isn’t the last time we see Sally Field on a London stage either.

9. Les Miserables In Concert (Gielgud Theatre)

I’ve always loved Les Miserables and every few years, I return to the theatre for a top up and in 2019 I saw both the show (before the original staging disappeared – why something unique to London had to go, I don’t know) and the staged concert performance next door. I’ve watched the anniversary DVDs, so knew what to expect from the experience, but the sheer power of the vocals during this concert couldn’t fail to impress, especially John Owen Jones as Valjean, able to convey the performance element, as well as the voice.

10. & Juliet (Shaftesbury Theatre)

Photo Credit: Johan Persson

My last choice for 2019 was a show I had no idea I’d enjoy as much as I did and that’s & Juliet, a musical that combined Shakespeare and some of my favourite songs from the 1990s! It may sound like an unlikely combination, but it really does work, in a story that asks what Juliet might have chosen to do, had she not killed herself at the end of Romeo & Juliet and tells this story with the help of the songbook of Max Martin (so, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Bon Jovi and more). The songs fit in such a clever and often funny way, that those in their 30s upwards in the audience started laughing after just a couple of bars of a track. It was an unexpectedly fun and entertaining night at the theatre, which had me reaching for my old CD collection when I got home!

………………………..

So, that’s my list of my favourite theatre shows of 2019. Next year is already looking promising and I’ll be posting a list of tips for 2020 over the next few days too. As always, thanks for reading!

Television Review – Suits 9.10 “One Last Con” – Suits says farewell with a beautiful episode that is easily my favourite television finale

Well, as much as I didn’t want to get here, there’s no avoiding it. Wednesday night saw Suits fans around the globe spend one final episode with these characters, as they bid us farewell with One Last Con; an episode crammed with content that it’d be impossible for me to pick a favourite moment!

Suits has never been a legal drama to me. Sure, it’s set in a law firm, but the law has never been its focus and what pulled me in 8 years ago and has kept me coming back, season after season, was the relationships; how these work colleagues were so much more to one another; how they’d do anything for each other. That sense of loyalty, respect and love was Suits’ biggest hook for me and is the reason I feel so sad to say goodbye to this world. Few shows have a heart like Suits does.

I’m not quite ready to stop writing about the series yet, so expect a couple of reflective posts in the near future, but first, after writing about my favourite series since season 6B, it’s time to dive in to the detail, one last time……

Good riddance to Faye Richardson!

She’s gone! Finally! It’s a testament to the impact of the character of Faye that it feels as though she has been around a lot longer than ten episodes, but it was such a relief to finally see her ousted from a position making everyone’s lives miserable. Yes, when she arrived I quite liked her approach and she was right in everything she was saying.

Yet, as the season went on, she became more and more of a villain, seemingly enjoying all the hurt she was causing. Also, even when she’d witnessed first hand the morals of this family and how they cared about people and weren’t as ruthless as she claimed (when they chose not to hand her in to the Bar so it wouldn’t hurt her daughter), she still seemed hellbent on seeing things as black and white. I mean did she seriously call Harvey a snake oil salesman this week?! That’s so far from who he is, it made me want to throw something at my screen.

In Suits style, the team banded together to try and finally come out on top against Faye, first in court and then through the One Last Con of the title, which saw Harvey, Mike, Donna, Louis, Alex, Samantha, Katrina and Gretchen join together to try and force her out, admittedly using the very methods that she was there to put an end to! The staged conference room scene was great fun, especially when Samantha punched Harvey and Donna’s supposedly shocked reaction to it! Plus, seeing Gretchen (Aloma Wright has always been fabulous in this role) so enthusiastically getting behind the plan was fun too.

Yet, in the end, the only way to save the firm was for Harvey to fall on his sword for the good of his work family. I admit, I’d been worried about this, that the show would end with Harvey leaving in disgrace, so it was at least a relief to see that he left on his own terms, while also finally sacrificing something for those he loves. It was his turn, after all. Mike went to jail, Jessica and Robert lost their licences. Heck, even Donna once lost her job doing something that has since been used to try and tarnish her character, in order to protect him. It made sense that before the series ended, Harvey would finally do something for the firm, guaranteeing Faye was out, Louis gets his title back and Samantha and Katrina get to return. I’m just pleased he was happy with that choice (more on Harvey later).

Finally a happy (if somewhat bittersweet) ending for Louis Litt

We’ve certainly been on quite a journey with Louis, but I’ll save that for my reflective post. For now, I’ll say it was lovely to see him finally happy after all his ups and downs and 9.10 saw him get married, become a father to a gorgeous little girl (welcome to the world Lucy Litt!) and regain his title as managing partner. 

It’s funny, but a few years ago I’d never have imagined him as someone capable of being the calming head of the firm, but in recent years he really proved that he was capable of such a role and I’m pretty confident that the future for Litt Wheeler Williams Bennett is bright. Plus, after all the jokes over the years about his name coming last on the firm’s name, Litt no longer comes last! Litt comes first and seeing him standing by the new name on the wall was quite lovely.

Yet, the end was bittersweet for him too, perhaps more so than for Harvey and Donna, as despite all he gained this week, Louis also had to accept he was losing his two closest friends and the scene in which he hears that news made me cry, for all of them (actors included), but especially Louis and Rick Hoffman really nailed his sense of loss here (especially as this episode had also seen these three acknowledging how they were the last left from Pearson Hardman), as Hoffman also did as Louis stared at the new firm name, with a mix of pride and sadness on his face.

Thankfully, Louis being Louis, we were still treated to some comedic moments in the finale. Seeing Harvey wind him up at the top of the aisle was classic Suits (Mr Peanut! You’re not the Prince of England – I see what you did there Mr Korsh)! The washing your back comment to Stan and his continued nutty relationship with Rachael Harris’ Sheila. There was a little bit of everything. Plus the Cinderella moment during the brief ceremony cracked me up. And that’s the beauty of Louis Litt – he can make you laugh and cry (I mean who didn’t, when he was told he had a daughter?!) in mere minutes. Rick Hoffman has helped create such a uniquely quirky character and I’ll miss him dearly.

Katrina gets a promotion as the firm changes name…again!

I admit, I’d seen the spoiler online, so Katrina getting to be named partner didn’t come as a surprise, but it was still a wonderfully satisfying moment in the finale, recognising all her hard work and loyalty to the firm. With Katrina, Suits yet again demonstrated how good it was at developing its characters in an organic way that sometimes took them in directions we didn’t expect. I mean, Katrina was not hugely likeable in the beginning was she?! Yet, here we are at the end, cheering her on! 

With Alex and Samantha by her side, great things are sure to be ahead. They have all become a work team in their own right this season, which has been lovely to watch, seeing Alex develops bonds with both women and Samantha and Katrina work side by side in 9.08. Dule Hill, Katherine Heigl and Amanda Schull have truly been a pleasure to watch (and maybe the firm’s name will actually stay the same for five years)!

……right, that covers everything doesn’t it? Oh wait…..I missed something……!

Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Paulsen Specter! The greatest television couple ever!

Well, again I knew this spoiler too (I honestly hope the Suits USA promo team apologised to Aaron Korsh for that huge blunder, revealing both Darvey’s possible engagement and marriage in their promo photos), but in a way, knowing it would have an ending I would love made watching the finale a little easier.

And did I still enjoy the conclusion to what is easily, in my opinion, the greatest television couple ever created (on the page and the screen)? Of course I did! I rarely say something was perfect on TV, but this storyline in 9.10 was the perfect way to have us leave Donna and Harvey. It didn’t feel like an end. It was the beginning of a new chapter that we simply won’t get to see.

Taking it step by step, we had that incredibly sexy scene when Harvey returned home after drinks with Mike! I mean, that was hot! Then there was the subtlety between them as the plan against Faye unfolded. It was clear to me what Harvey’s ace in the hole was (I knew his name was off the wall at the end too don’t forget) and knowing they talked it through as partners was a testament to their relationship. Don’t forget, the last time Harvey was planning to leave the firm when Jessica refused to back him for partner, he simply expected Donna to follow him. This week, as Harvey realised he had no other choice left, I loved the expression on Gabriel Macht’s face and also on Sarah Rafferty’s, as he glances to her and she gives a very small smile to say she’s with him, before he gave the smallest of nods back. Details like this make me long to see these two on stage too. I have no doubt they’d be fantastic.

And then there was a proposal AND a wedding! All in one episode! I admit, I’d always assumed the writers would put them together at the very end, something I’d have been frustrated by, when you have actors as talented as Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht. I’m so pleased Aaron Korsh and the team were brave enough to go for it with season nine. Sure there will always be little things I still wish we’d got to see, but when you get so much more than you could have hoped for, then what can I really complain about?! 

And 9.10 truly delivered for these characters and the fans who love them. We got to see them, yet again, walk down the aisle over another couple’s vows that seemed written to describe them, before we were treated to the most beautiful proposal I’ve watched on screen. It’s hard to pick just one scene in the finale, but I adored this proposal – the way Harvey said he loved her and had deep down always wanted to marry her, calling her beautiful (something fans have wanted ever since season 2, when he says it to Jessica and we, alongside Donna, for a minute thought he was talking to her), giving her the ring that was his grandmother’s (just like Mike!) and the way he asks, his tone dropping as he does so. I mean, it was simply perfect.

I’d have been satisfied by just a proposal, but yet we also had a beautiful wedding in a gorgeous setting, officiated by one of the best guest characters on Suits, Dr. Lipschitz (Ray Proscia, is now even cooler – he married Darvey!), with their vows tracing through so much of their history. Harvey talks about being a gambler, which was exactly the first image we had of him in the pilot and Donna highlights all the facets of their relationship – he’s made her laugh, cry, crazy, but crucially, happy. Let’s face it, there could never have been anyone else for these two and hearing Harvey say he wanted to dance with his wife with such joy, before seeing them happily dancing together in each other’s arms, something we’ve seen before, but now comfortable in knowing their future is together, was wonderfully acted and shot (bravo to first time director Aaron Korsh).

Yes, I’d have loved to see Jessica there, but I understand why that wasn’t able to happen due to Gina Torres’ Pearson publicity schedule, so I choose to believe she did call Harvey and / or Louis to give her thoughts on the last con and to wish them well. And as for Meghan Markle? Rachel not being there for Louis’ wedding felt stranger to me than Jessica not being there, due to their close bond, but we knew it’d never happen under the circumstances. We did at least have Wendell Pierce back one last time (and he still has the photo of her on his desk). I never expected to get everything.

That could have been enough of an end for them, but having them decide to leave to go and work alongside Mike and Rachel in Seattle felt like another natural progression. My biggest worry for the finale was seeing Harvey disgraced, or forced out and although they’d have maybe stayed had he not needed to play his ace in the hole, it didn’t feel forced, which was emphasised as they told Louis the news. Harvey looked excited and happy. As he said to Sean Cahill in 9.08, he’s good with what’s in his soul. Their involvement with Faye didn’t make him want to change who he is, but over time, largely thanks to Mike, he’s realised he could be using his skills to help those less able to help themselves.

Also, the Harvey of season nine is no longer the man who relishes ruling the world of New York law. I think he may have started realising this when he knew managing partner wasn’t for him in season 7, but it’s only now that he has more than work success in his life that he understands that his happiness lies in another direction. It’s less clear to me what Donna’s role will be. COO again? Maybe, or maybe she’ll support the new firm, while also exploring other avenues for herself, but she’s mentioned how much she misses Rachel a few times these last two seasons, so knowing they’ll be reunited is lovely. What we can be sure of is that these two have a happy future ahead (and maybe the scene of Donna holding little Lucy was a way of suggesting another possible event for them in time – honestly, them being with Louis to see his little girl, was a scene I never thought we’d get, but it was just gorgeous). 

I’ve had my share of TV couples I’ve enjoyed watching and rooted for and one I dearly loved in a Mulder & Scully, but what Suits has proven with Donna and Harvey, is that you can shift a slow burn, to a relationship and continue to tell interesting stories, if you have strong writers / creators who care about their characters and talented actors like Rafferty and Macht, who bring them so vividly to life, that you feel as if you know them. I’m so grateful with how satisfying their resolution on the series was, but I’m so sad we won’t get to continue the journey with them. What isn’t in doubt though – they are the finest couple created for television and I’ll dearly miss spending time with them.

One last montage before we end with the foundation of Suits – Harvey Specter

The end of Suits. No matter how many times I watch this finale, if I haven’t teared up already, the last few minutes get to me every time. Harvey and Donna watching the everyday life of the firm continue in the bullpen. I didn’t need the reminder from Harvey to recognise the call back to Louis and Jessica in season five and it’s those little touches that help make Suits special, especially for those who’ve watched and rewatched since the show began. 

Then there was the last scene for Mike & Harvey. I’m so pleased Mike came back for the end. I didn’t love him in 9.05, but the series couldn’t have ended without him (and Patrick J. Adams) and having him and Harvey hatch one last plan, have him get to witness the proposal and marriage of his friends after all his matchmaking efforts and then have him welcome Harvey on board the team in Seattle was so satisfying. And what better way than through an interview, mirroring exactly his first meeting with his mentor and friend. We know Mike has an incredible memory, but seeing Harvey remember too was lovely (and him admitting he wouldn’t know anything from the book made me chuckle). 

And then the end. The last scene of Darvey in Harvey’s office and him saying how he couldn’t have done any of it without her. Knowing this was the last scene these two actors filmed together only added to the emotional impact of it for me. Then we saw Donna make a last walk through the halls, where she’s risen from Harvey’s secretary to COO, proving how important it is to believe in yourself, before leaving one last time with Louis (the elevator has seen many a moment between these two after all). It was such an emotional few minutes, until those elevator doors closed for the last time.

Yes, initially I was surprised her and Harvey didn’t leave together, but it made sense to give that final moment to the character who has been the centre of the series – Harvey. It’s been his journey, from a guarded, emotionally closed off man, to the man who now understands work success isn’t everything and that caring doesn’t make you weak, but strong. Seeing him spend his last few moments looking at his mother and the past he found so hard for so long, while letting the memories of the last nine seasons go through his mind was lovely. Some may dislike the montage, but it added to the nostalgia for me, although I did question including moments Harvey wouldn’t have witnessed, but hey, I’m nitpicking. Finally, what better end than Harvey picking up the never to be touched basketballs, glancing around his beloved office, before finishing a final scotch and striding out in to his new future. It was hugely emotional to watch and I think it always will be.

He’s the reason I fell for this series, due to his complexity as a character and what the writers and the incredibly talented Gabriel Macht have achieved over nine seasons is a feat few shows achieve. It’s probably the most satisfying character development I’ve ever watched and I say thank you to all involved in bringing him to life. 

…….and I suppose that’s it. No looking ahead section. Yet, as I’ve already said, with such a satisfying, happy and hopeful finale, it almost doesn’t feel like the end. They’re continuing on somewhere and we can tag along in our imaginations. This series has seen me through many ups and downs since I started watching all those years ago (thanks to a friend who watched the pilot on a plane and told me this new series would be starting soon on UK television) and I’ll miss it very very much, but I wouldn’t have missed the experience for the world. It’s brought my comfort, escapism, laughter, tears and some incredible friends who I’d have never met without joining the show’s fandom. 

It’s more than a show to those who helped make it and to those who’ve watched it – it’s a family and I’ll be forever grateful I was a part of it.

Television Review – Suits 9.06 “Whatever It Takes”

After the firing of Samantha in the final moments of last week’s episode, it seemed clear that this week would centre around the fight to get her job back, inevitably putting the gang of Specter Litt Wheeler Williams at odds with Faye Richardson.

Overall, comparing it to the rest of the season so far, this may be my least favourite instalment. It just felt a little flat to me in a way I find hard to put in to words, but that aside, it was still an enjoyable episode of the series, with plenty to discuss.

There are certain lines they won’t cross – family ones

For anyone who has watched Suits for any period of time, but especially those who have been here since the start, the importance of family and loyalty to family, has always been a key element of the storylines. Therefore, it was great this week to see that thread pulling our favourite work family in two different directions – the desire to help one of their own family vs. the fact that to get Faye, it will mean harming her family. Seeing that struggle, especially for Harvey, was fascinating to watch and it took Donna voicing the truth they both knew for him to let it go. Louis already seemed uncomfortable with the plan and ultimately, as Donna tells Faye, there are some lines they won’t cross.

I’m starting to really believe that Faye’s reputation for ethics will prove a help to the firm before the season is over. She may be the one person whose opinion, if vouching for any trouble they get in to by the end, would be taken seriously.

The Samantha & Alex bond continues to strengthen and I love it

I’ve said in previous reviews how I’m enjoying the building up of Samantha and Alex’s friendship and that I wonder how much this is setting up this pair leading a firm at the end of the series. This week that bond continued to grow, as we saw Alex taking some risks to help her try and set up Gavin Andrews (let’s face it, he deserved it). All too aware that she was set on doing something that could blow up in her face, this time Alex was all in, doing all he could to help her. Mind you, neither of them thought to draw up an immunity deal for the FBI to sign?! Seriously?!

…..which brings me to……

They’ll always need Robert Zane!

When I saw Wendell Pierce at the theatre following a superb night of his London stage debut (he’s back in October and I urge you all to come and see him), after me telling him that we’d miss him on Suits, he said he’d be “slipping back there” and this week saw the return of Robert Zane! He may not have been gone long, but I’ve already missed him. Together with Jessica, they always felt like the adults keeping the kids in line and I’d already missed that element on the show.

Case in point this week – him verbally spanking Harvey on the street to make sure he was doing all he could be doing for Samantha! When he told him to get upstairs and get on with it, it had me laughing. Not many people could boss Harvey around, but Robert is certainly one of them! Also, without his dynamic with Rachel in the series anymore, his affection for Samantha was a lovely way of keeping that type of relationship present in the series’ narrative and so bringing him back when she was in trouble made perfect sense. And as I mentioned above, thank god he was there to sort out that immunity agreement! Hopefully we’ll see him again before the series ends, but for now, welcome back Wendell Pierce!

…..From a welcome return, to an unwelcome one…….

Go away Brian!

Honestly, I really liked Brian when he was first introduced and his friendship with Katrina was sweet. Then came perfume sniffing and longing looks while holding his baby and I couldn’t stand him! So having him back was a little irritating, especially when it meant I had him AND Susan in one episode, but thankfully Katrina didn’t do anything stupid. Well done Katrina. You can do much better. I’d still be wary of Susan though.

Then there was the call back to what is probably my favourite episode…

I sometimes change my mind and who knows what I’ll say once the series ends, but I always tend to return to season six’s The Painting being my favourite episode. It was such a pivotal story for Harvey and Gabriel Macht was so damn good. Therefore, the call back to that episode included in 9.06 was wonderful. Gabriel Macht is so underrated by the television awards circuits for his performance in the show and it’s a shame, as I can’t think of a more satisfying example of character development. Seeing the new Harvey struggling to do something the old Harvey would have done, was wonderfully executed, culminating in him and Donna in the same office, gazing at a photograph of a painting that meant so much to him and her giving him permission to let it all go. She didn’t want him to be that man and they both knew he didn’t either. Seeing him on the verge of tears, the two of them side by side was just beautiful and quite emotional.

On the subject of Donna and Harvey’s growing romantic relationship, I’ve seen a lot of online discussion about the lack of physicality and I admit, I’m in the middle on this. I love everything we’ve seen so far, all the initial milestones they’ve navigated about communication and their future and overall I’m satisfied so far. Yet, I can also understand those feeling frustrated by the lack of physical intimacy between them. We’re not talking passionate scenes in the bedroom, but the holding of a hand, or a quick kiss. In a way the lack of those moments in the last two weeks perhaps only emphasises just how much they’ve always been a couple in almost every respect, as their behaviour towards each other hasn’t hugely changed, but equally, I’d love to see a little more too. Time will tell as to what else is planned for Darvey, but as someone who was certain they’d get together in the last episode, season 9 is a huge bonus!

….and lastly……

Harvey throwing Louis a baby shower? Hell yes!!

This was a storyline I didn’t know I needed until the mighty Gretchen suggested it. It’s such an unexpected addition, which I assume means we’ll see it before the end, or perhaps that’ll be how it all ends; all the gang together at the baby shower. Whatever the circumstances, I loved this scene, from Harvey’s initial reaction, to Gretchen’s scolding (between her and Robert, Harvey really was put in his place this week) and then Louis’s response. Rick Hoffman has given us so many character traits that are so very Louis and his hugs is a favourite of mine, as are the reactions they get from the recipients! Plus if planning this party helps Donna and Harvey to open up to each other more about whether they’d want a family, that would be fascinating to see too.

Looking ahead!

Suits is taking a break from season 9 next week, instead airing the pilot, plus some new cast interviews, but we have a clear idea of what we’ll be seeing in 9.07, called Scenic Route. As was set up at the end of this week, we’ll be seeing Harvey taking a road trip with Samantha, as she goes in search of her biological father. We all know how important family is to Harvey and how close he was to his own father, so I think it’s a great choice to have him go with her.

From the newly released photos, it also seems that Donna has picked herself up a large painting. Has she managed to get back Harvey’s cherished duck painting, or has Lily created a new one for them? By the looks of the shot above, whatever it is certainly strikes an emotional chord with Harvey and I’m keen to find out! Although not too keen. With only 4 episodes left, I’m happy to wait a little and enjoy having Suits on my screen a bit longer!

Suits season 9 continues with 9.07 “Scenic Route” on 4th September in the US on USA Network and on 6th September on Netflix in the UK. Next week, USA Network are airing the pilot episode with new cast interviews. Watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/o8RAbdWPJFM

Television Review – Past choices came home to roost for everyone in Suits 8.13 “The Greater Good”

It’s Thursday night, so it’s time for Suits and I have to say, season 8B is just getting better and better for me, with this week’s latest episode continuing the run of strong stories, both the ones that are only here for one week, or the long-simmering ones, that just keep building and building (yes, we all know what the obvious one is, I’ll get to it)!

With the title, The Greater Good, the overarching theme was past choices and actions and how they continue to affect your life, no matter how long it’s been, whether a night, a day, a year, or 13 years……..Almost all of the gang were affected by their pasts in 8.13 and it was a lot of fun to watch.

Let’s dig in to this week’s detail and start at the top of the tree with the Managing Partner……

Louis realised that choosing to step up is not the path to an easy life!

Ahh Louis Litt. Just when he no longer cared about it, he found himself sitting on the throne and this week saw him truly understanding how tough a job it is (which only makes me love Jessica more, seeing as she made it look easy)! It was fun to watch him navigating the waters of his new role, flying off the handle like old Louis with Katrina and Robert, before remembering that’s not who he is anymore and reminding me just why I thought he’d be the best man for this job. His lovely interaction with Katrina was a real highlight. Between you or Brian, Louis, I’d choose you hands down!

Katrina’s choice to have Brian as her associate has consequences

The low-point of last week’s episode for me was the Katrina/Brian thread and I was dreading where it would go next (well, it couldn’t get any worse at least). This week Katrina had to find a way through the emotional wreckage, that would leave both of them unscathed, which was absolutely correct. She is the one in the position of seniority and it’s interesting to see the genders flipped for a change. She technically put him, as her subordinate, in a difficult position (even though, professional lives aside, they were both at fault and his behaviour is just horrible), so tarnishing his reputation was out of the question. I loved her conversation with Donna, which was also nicely used to bring up her “complicated” relationship with someone she works with…….hmm….I not sure I know who that is…..I’m not quite sure the solution is ideal though – they have to keep working together – for a YEAR? I can’t see this ending well……Tread carefully Katrina and Brian, how about you put a photo of your wife on your desk alongside your baby? Remember her? You better!

Samantha’s past turns up at her door, with an insight in to the childhood choices, that have helped shaped her in to the woman she’s become

In 8.10 we learnt about Samantha’s past in foster care and this week we were given a greater glimpse in to that early life through the arrival of her foster mother, who she clearly cares deeply about. This stand-alone story was a lovely thread of 8.13, as we watched Samantha come to terms with the truth of her foster mother’s choice not to fight to keep her (that had to be hard to hear) and with the help of her surrogate father, Robert Zane, she was able to move forward and forgive her, while at the same time use her own past as a way to help save the potential future of another young kid in need. I like you more and more every week Ms Wheeler.

Stu faced the harsh reality of doing favours for PSL/ZSL/ZSLWW (or whatever name it has this week)

Suits-Episode-13-Season-7-Inevitable-6

I love Stu. If they’d ruined Stu, I would have exploded! There would have been angry tweets and possibly angry letters and no one wants that, so thank goodness, Stu lives to fight another day as the greatest gunslinger. I thought he was mad to manipulate that stock, but he knew the risks, whether he wanted to admit it or not. Having said that, I did feel sorry for him, being another person getting caught up in the shady world our favourite law firm tends to keep slipping in to, especially when it looked as though Harvey really wasn’t going to be able to fix it. The whole “I’m Harvey Specter. Don’t mess with me” line really isn’t working as well as it used to these days. Thankfully, Donna came up with the way to save the day – the “We’re all guilty here, let’s just pretend it didn’t happen” solution! It certainly covered Harvey, Donna, Stu, Sean Cahill, the annoying trader whose name I’ve already forgotten, not to mention capturing Katrina and Brian too! My one sadness is that this may very well spell the end of his flirty friendship with Donna, which would certainly be a loss. Will we ever see Stu again? If not, it was fun while it lasted! It was also lovely to see Sean Cahill back, as his relationship with Harvey in early season six was one of the best aspects of that time in the show and it was a reminder of just how many great guest actors this series has had. Heck, it was even nice to see Joe Miler pop up and be doing well.

……and then there was the BIG one……the story thread that’s been fuelled by so many past choices and mistakes that it could power Manhattan…….

All those Darvey choices from the past continuing to dictate both Donna and Harvey’s current behaviour

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been introduced to the new man in Donna’s life and I have to say, I think he’s pretty great (and fantastically played by Sasha Roiz). A man in his early 40s, with seemingly little baggage, who’s kind, thoughtful, successful (and not arrogant), witty, charming and rather sexy. They don’t exist in the real world do they? Also, crucially in my opinion, the focus was on him and Donna; their flirting (as inappropriate as I thought it may have been to call a client stupid) and their first date, culminating in that fabulous last scene, where Donna had a man in front of her being direct about how incredible she is and how much he wanted to be with her. I don’t think I even wrote the word “Darvey” in my last review, as the foundations were being laid.

This week………could there have been more Darvey subtext? Personally, I feel sorry for Thomas. He seems too decent to deserve the inevitable heartbreak that’s coming his way at some point and in any other world, he’d absolutely be the man for Donna Paulsen, but let’s face it, we all know the truth (sorry Thomas).

First things first, I’m thrilled Donna has moved on. That may be a controversial statement for some, but honestly, I’d have been more frustrated had she not. Yes, she’s clearly harbouring unresolved feelings for Harvey and yes she did lie about not feeling anything when she kissed him, BUT she did make a move (as questionable as the timing was). She then wanted to talk about it. He closed that down. He wanted a promise of no repeats and when she then raised their blurry lines, it was Harvey, thanks to his own fear at his emotions, who said it didn’t mean he wanted more – to the woman who not that long ago told him she wanted more of something *insert long sigh here.* What’s a woman to do? Sit and wait and see if things change? Ultimately the choice was Donna’s and she’s chosen to see if she can find happiness with someone else. Life is short and none of them are getting any younger. Ultimately it’s her life and her choice and she isn’t trying to hurt Harvey. He’s hurting himself.

On to this week – how was the morning after the night before? Well, on the surface, it’s all going swimmingly. Early morning banter and kisses, supportive phone calls and three nights together in a row? All very promising, except that this week Donna’s new relationship seemed to be used at every opportunity to remind us of one thing and one thing only – HE ISN’T HARVEY! There’s the morning coffee (which won’t have vanilla), the dramatic pause before she admitted to him she “overslept” as though she wanted him to know, but chickened out of spelling it out, and the conversation with Katrina (who can be added to the list of people who clearly know about the the Darvey tension), which both raised the topic of Harvey and also highlighted that Donna is doing everything she can to ignore that mess. As she said herself, it’s about falling for someone who has nothing to do with that firm. She’s papering over her Harvey feelings, the same way he buried his by dating Paula and seeing her so keen to see Thomas again, to forget about her life and her feelings, felt very true to life. Sometimes we all need to run away from things for a while.

And while Donna is trying to move forward, Harvey is growing more and more aware of his choices, whether he’s ready to acknowledge them or not. We’ve seen him in therapy talking about being alone and this week made that very clear. The two closest people in his life were unable to take his call. They were both out, living their lives, because unlike Mr Specter, they know that life isn’t long. Gabriel Macht is always fantastic in this role and he is a master when it comes to the scenes where the story is all in his face and that final scene was beautifully played by him. The balance of the light, jokey message to Donna and the pleasure at wanting to tell Mike about his day, sinking in to a much sadder place, as he admitted he missed his friend, before gazing off in to space in his empty apartment. Oh, Harvey, I still love you and my heart did break a little for you, but this is an existence of your own making. You could be spending the night with someone you care about if you’d just been brave.

What’s exciting about this though is that he still has time! And as I’ve thought for quite a while now, the final push he needs is to see Donna with another man; one who realistically could make her happy. It’s the only thing left that has the potential to shake him out of this pattern. And once he’s awake to the truth of his feelings……? Well, then it’s all going to get very interesting indeed!

……………………………………

So, all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Greater Good. The story strands threaded together well, the writing was strong and it served as a reminder of just how strong this cast is, both old and new, regular and recurring. It’s episodes like this that make me sad to think that there’s not much longer left. All we can hope for is that the remaining episodes will be this satisfying.

Looking Ahead – time for the angsty fun to really begin!

img_3268

So, what’s coming next week. From the promo and the photos, it seems we’ll see Harvey meeting Thomas. Oh, that’s going to interesting. Scottie is also back and it seems winding up Harvey, making social calls to Donna’s apartment and going head to head with Samantha. I’m already excited!

 

See you next week, same day, same place!

Suits season 8 continues next week with 8.14 “Peas in a Pod” on Wednesday on USA Network in the US and on Thursday in the UK thanks to Netflix. You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/uisdLHPIoCc

(Photos from: Suits USA/USA Network)

 

 

 

 

 

Television Review – The gang is back! Suits 8.11 “Rocky 8”

Welcome back to the crazy world of Suits folks! When season 8 arrived last year, I wondered whether the show would adapt to the changes that would inevitably be needed, following the departures of Mike and Rachel and I was pleasantly surprised that, overall, 8A was quite a decent run. So, where did we leave things last September? Robert Zane had been considering that life was short, Harvey seemed to think life was long, Donna & Harvey’s relationship went from one extreme to the other and Louis became Managing Partner!

And so begins the reign of Louis Litt and what a fun start it was! Overall, I found 8.11 (despite its rather ridiculous title) to be a fun, light, promising start to these back six episodes of season 8. With the news that season 9 will sadly be the last (and a shortened ten-episode season too), it was bittersweet to sit down and enjoy the start to this run, knowing there’s not long left. I’ll miss this show when it’s gone.

Anyway, back to the present!

Louis takes the reigns of the firm and of Harvey…….!

holding-it-together-suits

Ahhh Louis, I do love you! Rick Hoffman deserves a lot of credit for this fabulous character, who we’ve seen experience every possible emotion and to see him dancing his way around the newly-named (enough with the name changes, guys) Zane, Specter, Litt, Wheeler, Williams was a lot of fun. Yes, it’s bonkers and totally unrealistic (I’ve certainly never seen any law firm partners behaving this way!), but the early days of Suits always had a balance of silly and serious and I’ve felt that’s been lost in recent years. No, Jessica wouldn’t act that way, but Louis isn’t Jessica. He’s always been simply himself and it was an entertaining start and just when I thought I wouldn’t laugh more, there was the scene between Louis and Harvey! I needed a good laugh and that interaction certainly delivered! Gabriel Macht doesn’t have many opportunities in this role to showcase his comedic side and scenes like this one are a refreshing change to Harvey’s usual deadpan mood. I’m astonished he was able to keep a straight face (oh to see the outtakes)!

It wasn’t all fun and frolics though, as we also saw the difficulties that come with being at the top, difficulties that Harvey never enjoyed when he was in the hot seat. Caught between being in charge and not wanting to rock the boat, Louis tries to dodge his responsibilities as leader, leaving everyone to their own devices. It’s understandable, but couldn’t last and it’s Donna who has to act, this time as a sledgehammer instead of velvet glove when letting Louis know he’s doing a poor job. I may not have liked her approach (more on Donna later), but the message was accurate. Sometimes you can’t lead and be everyone’s best friend. It’ll be interesting to see how Louis fares for the rest of 8B. Personally, I hope he shines. He’s earned it!

Has Harvey finally found his place again?

suits_epguide_811_2560x1440.jpg

You couldn’t help but notice in 8A that Harvey Specter had lost his mojo. He seemed adrift in the place he’s been most at home for years. The loss of Mike, on top of Jessica’s earlier departure, the end of his attempt at a relationship (wrong woman Harvey) and the destabilising effect of his brother’s marital breakdown all combined to see Harvey lost and unhappy. I didn’t really like it at all and one of the highlights of 8.11 for me was seeing Harvey getting back in the ring (literally too, which should really happen weekly). Having  the case be about boxing, one of his passions, was a smart move as it allowed him to truly have fun while also trying to bring Andrew Malik down, as payback for him ruining Jessica’s reputation (although, PSL’s press release didn’t help with that either, Harvey….). Without Mike by his side, it was time for him to team up with Robert Zane and their bromance continues to flourish. First burgers, then drinks, now popcorn and a movie at Harvey’s place? Surely, there’s someone else you’d rather be spending this much personal time with Harvey???? Come on now! Talk some sense in to the man, Robert, I beg you!

Katrina stops letting people push her around! 

fd401a3076c38658c3746b777265

I knew that Katrina helping Alex defeat Samantha in 8.10 would come back to bite her! Thankfully though, it seems a persistent feud between two women is off the table, with Katrina standing up to Samantha’s bullying tactics, with a little help from Donna. Not every lawyer wants to walk the thin line between legal and illegal, Samantha! It wasn’t only Ms Wheeler who met the new Katrina either, as she also made clear to Alex that she would never be put in that position again. Well done, Katrina. She continues to grow in this show and I love it.

It’s ladies night (can I come?!)

 

I had been a little worried that 8.11 would see bitchy women in the workplace, but thankfully the conflicts between Samantha and Katrina were resolved by the end of the hour and just in time for cocktail hour for the ladies of the firm. I’m just sorry we couldn’t watch them out on the town!

Alex and Samantha’s annoying rivalry is over (well, for now at least)

Thank God! The “whose name is going on the wall” plot line is at an end! That really did drag on, didn’t it? This opener marked a new start for the firm’s two newest named partners and their first scene of 8B was one of the episode’s highlights for me. Their competitiveness was still there, but in a fun way, while at the same time, it highlighted the difficulties both women and those from a minority background face when trying to rise in to positions of power. More of these two working together please!

Welcome to the madness, Thomas Kessler!

 

img_3199

We’ve known for quite a while that 8B would also see the introduction of a new love interest for Donna and 8.11 saw the introduction of the man himself, one of Louis’s oldest clients, Thomas Kessler and the inclusion of this man has certainly caused much fiery debate in the Suits fandom. My first thoughts? I think he’s great! Confident, without being arrogant (it’s not attractive, guys, trust me), witty, charming and seemingly a decent man too! Should he have backed off as soon as she turned him down? Not necessarily. It was immediately obvious she found him attractive (you couldn’t miss her expression when she first saw him) and she readily admitted that she would have said yes to a date if there was no connection to the firm, so his advances weren’t unwelcome (far from it), just unworkable for her (for now anyway – we’ll have to see what changes her mind). Plus, I liked that he was clear about feelings – he’s interested and he’d like her to reconsider, but won’t push again if she still says no. That’s fair. He should give Harvey and Donna lessons in expressing themselves!

 

Do I wish Donna and Harvey had danced off in to their future in the season seven finale, rather than the writers opting for the most obvious Darvey dodge? Of course, but I’ve moved past it for the sake of my sanity! I’ve already set out my thoughts on Darvey separately for anyone interested, but the short version – I believe we’ll get there by the end and this new relationship for Donna might be exactly what they both need to finally come together. In the meantime, I’m all for Donna having some fun with a decent guy. They’re both adults. She isn’t his lawyer, so she isn’t working for him (sure, she’s COO of the firm, but she’s not the one who’ll be providing him the services he’s paying the firm to deliver), so why not? Maybe it’ll make Harvey think twice about focussing all his energy on convincing Robert Zane to come round to Netflix and chill!

………

It would be impossible to not have some grumbles when watching any hour of television (well, unless it’s season 2 of The West Wing perhaps) and 8.11 did throw up some areas that I didn’t particularly like and as much as I hate to say it, they all related to Donna and Darvey……

Enough of the out of character Darvey & Donna moments!

Let’s start with the obvious – I love the character of Donna Paulsen and Sarah Rafferty’s performance is always fantastic. However, the aspects of 8.11 that I found myself grumbling about all revolved around our favourite redhead.

First, we had her waiting for Harvey at reception. For two hours? Really? How does that work? She brought him coffee, found he wasn’t in, so waited by the entrance for him to arrive, or does she have security in the lobby call her when he’s in the elevators and she comes hurrying out to meet him? Either way, it just seemed strange to see her waiting there, with cold coffee. Then him asking her to help him by reheating his coffee?! What on earth was that about? That’s not Darvey. That was never Darvey! Their relationship was all over the place in 8A and this scene just added to the strangeness. Perhaps this was to juxtapose her interaction with Harvey, with her flirty banter with Mr Kessler? This week it’s cold coffee, Harvey, soon it’ll be an emotional bucket of ice when you see her with Mr Smooth……

As for her banter with Thomas, as I’ve already said, I like him and I liked the freshness he’s bringing to the show. I could focus on being disappointed about Darvey, but the truth is, for me the scenes between Donna and Kessler had a freshness to them that was very welcome. We’ve hardly ever seen Donna flirty with anyone else and now she’s feeling more confident in her new role, it was fun to watch her showcase how great she is at it, while also allowing herself to flirt with a man who she knows immediately is attracted to her. Donna has always known she’s a desirable woman and I’m all for her enjoying that. My one complaint in all of this – calling a client “stupid” was just, well, stupid. Sure they were exchanging banter in his office and he was clearly enjoying it, but answering the phone to him later with “Hello stupid” was unprofessional and out of character for Donna. It was more a line to say to your husband. She knows he isn’t Harvey, right?

Finally there were her harsh words to Louis. Yes, he was doing a bad job and yes he needed to be told, but I think the Donna from a few years ago would have handled that much better. I see what they’re doing, throwing in that obvious parallel to Harvey’s crass comment to her in 8A about putting her in her job and I did like that she had enough self awareness to recognise she crossed a line in her approach with Louis, apologising to him in the way I’m guessing she’d like Harvey to apologise to her, but it did make me worry a little about the Donna we’re going to see for the next five weeks. Successful women don’t need to be hard, Suits writers. Let’s not reinforce that misconception through one of my favourite characters.

……………………….

So, all in all, I thought this was a strong start to this all too short run. With so many familiar faces returning over the next few weeks, there’s clearly going to be a bumpy road ahead and what will Donna’s love life do to Harvey. Everything? Nothing at all? Who knows at this point with these two idiots, but I’m excited to find out!

Suits continues next week, with episode 8.12 “Whale Hunt” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the US and on Thursday via Netflix in the UK. You can watch the promo here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmpQ1to9qY8

(Photos via: Suits / USA Network)

Television Review – Suits 8.10 “Managing Partner”- where it’s clear who’s really running the firm

Well, we’ve reached the mid-season finale of Suits season eight. It’s certainly come around fast and this week’s episode tied up some plot lines, but left others (it’s obvious which one sticks out) frustratingly at a standstill.

My immediate reaction to 8.10 was a feeling of being underwhelmed. First, it’s a weaker mid-season finale when compared to many of the others we’ve had in the past (think Louis finding out about Mike, Mike getting arrested, Jessica leaving, last season’s kiss) and that did surprise me. I’d been expecting a big moment to keep us dangling over the next four months and although I’m relieved in a way that there isn’t something to drive me nuts about over the hiatus, it also felt rather anti-climatic.

On that note, I’ll delve in to the specifics.

Alex vs. Samantha – Part 2

NUP_183355_0638.jpg

I have to say, I’m so pleased the “fight” for Named Partner is over! It’s taken up so much of 8A and I’ve not been hugely invested in the outcome, so I’m very happy everyone is moving on. Louis spoke my exact thoughts when he said he was “sick of this shit.” You’re preaching to the choir, Louis. In itself, the case in which Alex and Samantha fought this out wasn’t bad, it was just a bit dull and what became the most interesting aspect of the whole storyline was the further insight we saw in to Samantha (more on that later) and the consequences that flowed from the battle for the firm as a whole.

Samantha Wheeler’s history continues to unfold

IMG_2092.JPG

To say she’s only been in the Suits world ten episodes, Samantha Wheeler has certainly made herself very much at home and I’m a fully paid-up member of Team Wheeler. This week provided deeper insight in to Samantha’s history, her own and her history with Robert Zane and both elements proved fascinating.

We’ve all known that Samantha and Robert’s history clearly ran deep and very likely involved something shady and this week we saw that this was partly true. Zane has indeed been her mentor and surrogate father for 12 years (what is it with this show and 12 year periods?!), but we also learnt how that relationship came to be. For a split second, I thought Robert was going to be shady, but thankfully that wasn’t the case and instead, it was his dodgy fellow partners, who had pulled a Forstman on him to keep him quiet. The reveal that it was only with Samantha’s help that Robert took control of his firm was a lot of fun and truly gave validity to why he’d be so keen to back her, no matter the promise.

IMG_2090.JPG

We also discovered some further information about Samantha’s personal life, all of which provide plenty of possibilities for further storylines. We now know she has never known who her parents are, so having them reappear could be explored (although, no cheesy shocker of her being Harvey’s half-sister or something, please). I was also intrigued by the line of dialogue in the flashback, which suggested that she may have spent time in the military, as the federal agent referred to her previously serving her country. If she had no family and moved through the foster system, perhaps joining the military provided her the family she’d never had. Again, this is something else that could be explored in future episodes. It’s all very promising and I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for the newly-branded Named Partner.

Congratulations to Louis Litt!

img_2098

First of all, let’s all take a moment to enjoy Louis Litt finding some happiness! It wasn’t too long ago that he was sobbing in to Rachel’s arms over the loss of Tara, or was being mugged at gunpoint. Yet, by the end of 8.10, we welcomed the new Managing Partner and I was thrilled to see I actually got something right when it comes to the plot, as I mentioned in my review of 8.09 that I thought Louis should be in charge. That’s not something I’d have contemplated before season seven and yet, since then, Louis has slowly started to show he’s the right man for the job at the moment.

Suits - Season 8

Right from the start of this week’s episode, Louis was the mature leader. He made clear the fight between Alex and Samantha needed to be clean, something Harvey and Robert couldn’t stick to. He then advised Katrina not to risk destroying the firm by getting involved; advice Donna gave to Harvey in the same episode. He was putting the firm above anyone’s own personal need. So, by the time the battle between four people was coming to a head, Donna’s strategy was the clear and obvious solution and hearing Louis lay down the law to Harvey and Robert was fantastic. He was calm, serious and a leader. Jessica Pearson would be so proud, Louis!

On the personal front, we also learnt that he and Sheila and going to be parents. I’m pleased for Louis, even though I’ve not really been a huge fan of the way Sheila has conducted herself this year. I can only hope that all the unresolved questions hanging over them (religious upbringing, who will spend less work time etc.) don’t create any insurmountable hurdles. I certainly wasn’t a fan of his guilting Sheila in to giving up work. Not cool, Louis. Finally, highlighting just how much Louis has grown up recently, his last scene with Harvey was a delight to watch and top marks to Gabriel Macht and Rick Hoffman. Harvey telling Louis he’d be an excellent Managing Partner and outstanding father was one of the best bits of 8.10. These two used to be so aggressive and angry with one another and now their friendship is very real and the affection in that hug was lovely to see. Hopefully this will survive Louis taking the reigns!

We all know who the real Managing Partner is (and it’s not Louis)!

IMG_2036

In last week’s review, I commented that the title of 8.10 could refer to Donna, based on all the relationships she’s managing so damn well and that proved to be partly true. We saw Donna, yet again, keep the firm from turning in to a pile of rubble, this time by convincing Louis to step up. It makes perfect sense. Harvey has already acknowledged that, deep down, the role isn’t the one for him and I agree. Plus, last week suggested Robert may be starting to re-evaluate his priorities and he also knew that it needed someone else to step between him and Harvey. It was fantastic to see Donna demonstrating her talent for reading the situation and the personalities involved and saving everyone from themselves!

It was also lovely to see Katrina come to Donna for advice about Harvey’s proposition, which I have to say, I wasn’t impressed with. Harvey, Alex, Samantha and Robert can play their games, but dragging Katrina in to it was crossing a line in my view. I was also a little surprised that Donna advised her to do it, especially as she has first hand knowledge of the risks of pretending to be someone you’re not to obtain documents. From now on guys, leave Katrina out of your dodgy shenanigans! Even Harvey by the end realised who the true managing partner is and he looked pretty impressed by the realisation too.

So….No review would be complete without discussing Donna and Harvey, so let’s do it…..

The frustrating Darvey dance continues (insert deep sigh here)

IMG_2100

It’s ironic that I’ve ended this first half of season eight feeling frustrated when it comes to Darvey, as I’ve been one of the few people who has remained fairly positive throughout the last nine episodes. For me, I’m happy as long as I can see some sort of narrative plan and this seemed to veer a bit off course by the end of 8.10.

The subject of Darvey probably needs a post all its own (shout if you’d like one!), but in essence, I’ve enjoyed seeing some tension this season. Following the wedding not everything was resolved. They’d been through a lot and hadn’t really moved past it, but season eight began with them trying to get back on decent ground, which with these two includes the flirting of years gone by. When that blatant flirting was replaced by arguments rather than a resolution, after 8.05, I could understand it. Harvey’s abandonment fears resurfaced and affected his emotions and we saw some of the underlying resentments both still carry in the wake of season seven.

img_2102

It felt as though we were building to something credible. There was no after works drinks and they became more and more distant, as Donna grew more independent in her role as COO. Clearly, I knew we wouldn’t see something definitive to close out this half season; that would be too simple, but I did expect something that made sense and as much as I enjoyed the last scene between them, it felt out of sync with the tone that had been building between them. It was a scene that would’ve fitted up to 8.05, but coming at the end of 8.10, I sensed it was more of a “we should give the fans something” moment, which personally, I’d have been happy without. Is the tension and resentment behind them? Are they “back to normal” again? Who knows now.

I think the back half of season eight is going to be crucial for this particular relationship, especially based on the information we now have on what is to come. Do I think Darvey is endgame? Yes, but I may change my mind come the end of 8.16.

Speaking of the future. Looking ahead to 8.11-8.16 (WARNING: Spoilers ahead!)

Suits-Saison-8-cast

I end each post looking ahead to the following week’s episode. As we won’t see the series return until next year (I’m guessing January, as there’s no Winter Olympics in 2019), we have less to go on. All we really have is the information gleaned from the interviews that have surfaced in the last day and the very brief promo.

First, we know the firm will become Zane, Specter, Litt, Wheeler, Williams. The stationery firm responsible for their branding needs must be thrilled by how much money all these changes bring in! It was never about beating someone else to the job for Alex. He just wanted the title and so I’m not surprised that the choice Samantha gave him at the end of 8.10 has resulted in him putting himself last.

Second, something covered last season is going to come back and apparently “sort of rear its head for one or maybe more episodes.” Time to start thinking about season seven again if you can bear to. As long as it’s nothing to do with Paula! That’s a dealbreaker for me!

Finally, creator Aaron Korsh has stated that in the back six episodes they’ll be delving in to Donna’s backstory AND giving her a love interest. Taking these two elements one at a time, I’m thrilled that we’ll be learning more about Donna on a personal level. We still know very little, so there’s so much scope here. Will we meet her mother? Does she have a sibling we’ll meet? Will we see her first starting out at the DA’s office, before Harvey, or get a glimpse in to her life away from the firm and the people in it? I want all of it, but I’ll settle for some of this list! We’ve explored Louis, we know all about Harvey’s issues, so it’s time for a focus on Donna and it’s the element I’m most excited for in 8B.

As for the love interest? Well……..I’m torn about this, which is driven by the uncertainty about the show’s overall future. The consensus seems to be season nine is looking good and if that’s true, then I’m all for Donna having the chance to have someone come in to her life and give her another possible path. If season eight was to be the last, then this idea seems nuts, as it would mean they only had six episodes to resolve everything (including Darvey finally coming together). So, assuming we have the time, who could this love interest be? Someone new, or someone from her past, with whom she’s already deeply connected? We’d get to see another side of Donna and also, I hope, another side of Harvey. Perhaps, seeing someone else take her attention and affection is what he needs to realise what he could lose. It took Paula’s presence for Donna to evaluate her feelings for Harvey. Having him do the same, perhaps in therapy, would be a brilliant parallel. Plus, it could set them up for the moment most of us are waiting for!

It’s now a waiting game. See you all in 2019 for new episodes, but expect a couple of Suits-related posts before then! Thanks for reading!

Suits season eight will return in early 2019 (I hope) on USA Network in the US and via Netflix in the UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Television Review – Suits 8.09 “Motion To Delay”

As I am writing this review of last week’s episode of Suits, the day before the mid-season finale airs, the irony is not lost on me that the episode on which I’ve been delayed in posting my thoughts is entitled Motion To Delay! Interestingly, 8.09 was the first episode of season 8 that linked back to the old seasons, through the inclusion of the ghost of Frank Gallo. There were also a number of different plots within the episode, but the writers were able to keep all the plates spinning, resulting in quite a satisfying hour and one that I found much better than last week.

As always, let’s dive in:

Congratulations to ZSL’s newest Senior Partner, Katrina Bennett! 

IMG_2072

It was so lovely to see Katrina achieve her dream of being senior partner this week, with Louis escorting her, in his own special way, in to her new office. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Katrina’s journey so far this season, as she navigates the harder elements of rising the ranks in such a competitive and life-consuming profession and it was lovely to see her able to take on a case that truly mattered to her, now that she had the power to do so. However, it was also satisfying to see her not succeed without a struggle and her seeking Harvey’s advice (don’t forget it was him that brought her to the firm originally), was particularly lovely. It also demonstrated how much he’s grown too, in a scene where he really was a sounding board to someone junior to him.

There was another element to Katrina’s story this week and that involved her newly-blossoming friendship with Brian. I don’t know about you, but I spent most of the episode with my fingers crossed that they weren’t going to take this plot strand in to the cheating sphere. It really would sour my opinion of both characters and having them simply by great friends, supporting each other through the chaos, will be far more interesting in my view. Thankfully, the writers haven’t chosen what would be the cliched route yet and the more we see them together, the more it seems Brian isn’t looking for anything more than a friend (and no doubt an advocate for his career progression down the line). As for Katrina, I’m still not convinced she has romantic feelings towards Brian; rather he’s more of a symbol of what she knows is still missing in her life and which was only highlighted more in her lovely final scene with Louis. I’ve missed them together, so it was heartwarming to see him there to support her and congratulate her on such an incredible achievement.

Alex vs. Samantha – Part 1

IMG_0478

It seems that the mid-season finale is going to spend a lot of time on the battle for Named Partner between Williams and Wheeler (more on that later), so this week could be seen as the warm-up round, as they found themselves on either side of a case between two clients. It only made things more interesting to have one of those being the shady client Samantha can’t stand and Alex was stupid enough to take on. I have to say, based on what we’ve seen of Gavin Andrews, I agree with Samantha that whatever happened to the painting was probably deliberate! I also didn’t think she was out of line suggesting the firm drop him. Hasn’t PSL / ZSL had enough of dodgy clients? This was the perfect opportunity to legitimately ditch another one!

Donna’s conversation with Samantha was also fascinating, as I too was initially surprised to hear Donna suggesting to another woman that she hold back from what she wanted. Coming from someone who’d fought so hard recently to achieve a more prominent position, independent of a man, it seemed a little out of character for Donna to do this, although her ultimate goal seemed to be firm harmony, which has always been something she’s been involved in too. What I did love though was the dialogue here and how, by the end of the scene, Donna understood and respected Samantha’s position and not that it matters, but I’m still Team Wheeler.

Life Is Short (No Matter What Harvey Says)

IMG_0475.JPG

Motion To Delay also saw the firm, yet again, under threat. This time is was from Tommy Bratton, still annoyed that his criminal activity had been curtailed and his career halted. Shouldn’t he just be grateful not to be in prison?! This could have been yet another episode where we have someone make lots of threats and then have the team find a way to beat them. Let’s face it, Suits does that A LOT! However, the writers chose to incorporate the sentiment that none of us are here forever and you never know what’s around the next corner, with the revelation that Bratton was dying, followed by his unexpected death later on.

What was most interesting to me in this plot strand was how Bratton’s death affected Robert Zane and Harvey quite differently. Harvey acknowledges how if you found out your days were limited that surely you’d make the most of them, but he was more detached from the reality of what happened and it didn’t seem to cause him to reflect upon his own life, unlike when he was faced with Louis’s changing circumstances earlier this season. He also even commented to Katrina that “life is long.” No, Harvey, that’s not the lesson you should be taking from this! Life is not long. You do not have all the time in the world, so hurry up and tell Donna you love her! Mind you, the comment seemed to sum up his current frame of mind, as this season he’s seemed to be struggling with the changes around him. Perhaps every day feels like a long struggle to him right now?

Robert on the other hand, took the news of Bratton’s death very badly. Yes, he’s older and had known the man personally for many years, but it seems to cause a bigger shift in his outlook on life. Just as Louis has started putting more of a focus on his personal life this season, Robert too seemed to be weighing his choices for the future by the end. Will we see him stepping back from the office? I think it’s very possible.

What’s going on in that brain of yours, Donna? Just ASK HER, Harvey! 

IMG_0476.JPG

We didn’t have much between Donna and Harvey in Motion To Delay, with the scene we did have being quite formulaic when it comes to them – Donna gives helpful insight, Harvey realises she’s right and follows her suggestion. In this case, it was Donna pursuing a lead of her own with Frank Gallo’s daughter, but let’s face it, we’ve seen this same scenario hundreds of times. I did find Harvey’s question and overall mood in the scene interesting though. As I’ve said already, he seems emotionally exhausted this year and the interaction lacked any spark, or banter and as for the question, I certainly think Harvey would like the answer to that to cover more than just work!

It’s not quite the same as the Mike and Harvey bromance, but I do love Zane and Specter!

IMG_0479.JPG

We’d heard creator Aaron Korsh say that, just because Mike was gone didn’t mean the movie quotes would disappear too and sure enough, this week saw Harvey find a new partner in crime when it came to the movie quotes. I loved this more light-hearted scene between the two characters and it reaffirmed that they may have their differences, but there is still an affection and respect there.

Looking Ahead – we’ve reached the mid-season finale already! 

IMG_2065.JPG

Blimey, time flies! We’re already at episode 8.10, which will leave us with a few months to ponder what awaits us over the final six episodes of season eight. Entitled “Managing Partner” we already know that the episode will involve a fight for named partner between Alex and Samantha. Who’ll win? The obvious answer would be Samantha (perhaps using her mysterious past with Zane to her advantage?), but perhaps things won’t work out the way we expect. Also the title could suggest Robert does choose to step down, leaving the managing partner role open again for either Harvey or Louis. Part of me honestly thinks Louis would be better placed to take this on right now, but we’ll have to see.

Or the title could simply relate to Donna, who manages so many partnerships in the office at the moment, whether with Harvey, Robert or the other characters. The synopsis suggests Donna has to make some sort of decision for the good of the firm, which intrigues me. Will Harvey see this as a betrayal, only solidifying the distance that’s existed between them so far this year? They certainly look quite serious and a little sad in the promo photos we’ve seen. Plus, the cast includes landlord David Fox. Is he back with more work for Harvey? Is he still trying to get Donna to have dinner with him? He did redeem himself a little last time, so it’s not totally ridiculous is she said yes.

I honestly have no clear idea what’s going to happen and whether or not we’ll be left with as excruciating a cliff hanger as we were this time last year! Not long to find out!

Suits continues tomorrow with 8.10 “Managing Partner” on USA Network in the US and on Thursday in the UK via Netflix. You can see the promo here: https://youtu.be/odjg7v3_eLU

 

 

 

Television Review – Suits 8.07 “Sour Grapes” (and that’s definitely not just the wine)!

I’ve got to give the writers on Suits credit, their episode titles often have multiple meanings and that was certainly the case this week. One of the plot lines may have involved a vineyard, but there were more sour grapes flying around this week than those in Robert Zane’s wine vats (and that’s before we get to Louis’s problems). This week also marks the return to directing for Gabriel Macht (his last episode was in season 4). It can’t be easy acting and directing yourself and he did a great job.

So, on we go to the episode itself, starting with the actual grapes.

Robert Zane – building relationships and dealing with plenty of prejudice

img_0430-1

I’ve loved seeing Robert in charge the season, but Donna was spot on a few weeks ago when she pointed out to him that he needed to let the team work how they work best. He’s clearly taken that advice on board and as well as appreciating Donna, this week he was building a better relationship with Alex, asking for his help over Samantha’s on a personal matter.

Alex has been the character I’ve been least bothered about this season, so it was great to see him having a more interesting role this week, working alongside his boss, but not being afraid to let him know when he was being unreasonable. It was also satisfying to see Suits yet again raising the subject of racism and how that doesn’t just disappear, no matter how successful someone is. Yet, this story also highlighted that it’s not just race that can cause prejudices, but also the resentments that arise when you are seen as being successful by those who may be jealous of that success. Not only did Robert have literal sour grapes, but he also had to work through the sour grapes held by the wine-making community he’s now a part of, who saw him as the big Manhattan ego muscling in. Having the show tackle real and interesting issues is always a big plus. Also, I have to say, I love Zane owning a vineyard! Time for a firm retreat where they all get merry on the wine (well, once he actually makes some they can drink)!

Oh and line of the week goes to Robert Zane. You all know the one!

The road to parenthood is not as easy for Louis & Sheila as they’d hoped (in more ways than one)

img_0444

It wasn’t just Robert Zane’s storyline this week that was a very real subject, as we saw Louis and Sheila tackling a difference of viewpoint on parenthood that, if left unresolved, would lead to sour grapes between them later down the line. On mistakenly thinking that Sheila was already pregnant (I knew it wouldn’t be that easy), they discovered a new problem – their wildly different wishes regarding the religious upbringing of their child. I had wondered this a while ago, but assumed they’d have worked through this already. I mean, it’s not a small point. Louis wants his children to be Jewish. I’d have thought this would be obvious to Sheila. You would also think two adults of their age would have talked about this before getting pregnant, right? The fact they hadn’t is another red flag to me that these two haven’t truly thought their relationship through and makes me wonder if it will ultimately end in tears and getting engaged when such serious issues are still unresolved didn’t seem to be the wisest choice to me. Time will tell I suppose, but it was great to see another very real issue that many couples have to resolve being highlighted on screen.

 

Samantha continues to become a team player (but also has her eye on the ultimate prize)

img_1921

We’ve seen Samantha really start to develop her relationships over the last few episodes. She’s already in with Zane, her and Alex now have respect for each other and their ultimate goal and last week saw her bond with Donna. 8.07 saw her working with Harvey and continuing to earn his respect, as he learns more and more that she is a valuable team player and can get the job done. I’m betting Harvey isn’t fluent in Chinese (and let’s face it, she’ll be fluent, because nothing else would cut it for this woman)! I love seeing the team coming together and the more I see of Samantha, the more I love her, but I’m not blind to the fact she’s still playing the game to get the big prize.

The same way the writers have slowly made viewers like her, she’s doing the same with the rest of the gang; doing everything right to position herself for that promotion. She probably worked out on Day 1 that to get Harvey on side, she not only needed his respect, but also needed Donna in her corner. After this week, she seems to have achieved both of these goals (and established a kick ass duo with Donna along the way; that last scene where they made Harvey twitch with discomfort was so damn satisfying!). Does that mean they can’t trust her, or that she’s a bad person? Nope. But the writers also aren’t painting her as an angel either. In fact, she’s probably one of the most complicated personalities in the team and that’s a big plus to the series. After this week, Alex really needs to up his game, as Samantha is moving her pieces in to position on the board, ready to take the game. If she does, I hope the sour grapes that follow won’t break the firm.

Wait a minute, David Fox has a heart? Who knew?!

img_0438

The more we see of David Fox, the more I actually like him. He’s proved to be a ruthless opponent more than once, but this week we saw he actually has a heart and loyalty to the person who helped him become the success that he is. Sound familiar Harvey? If there’s one way to earn Harvey’s respect, it’s loyalty and it was fun to see him have to admit that David Fox isn’t quite as bad as he thought he was. I’m also interested to see what else the writers have planned for this character, especially now they’ve shown us he’s a better person than we initially thought. Maybe he’ll ask Donna out again? Maybe she won’t say no a second time, especially after Harvey’s behaviour this week!

Harvey & Donna – both harbouring resentments this week. The question is, when will they boil over?

img_0433

Oh, Harvey. There are weeks when you really irritate me and this was another one of those weeks. This episode saw Harvey sour with a number of people: David Fox for what he assumed are his questionable motives and smugness at having Harvey as his bitch (anyone else love that?!), Samantha for her input in his case (until he realised he needs her to get the job done) and then Donna, for making the deal with Fox in the first place. The first two in this list were resolved in Sour Grapes. He’s on good terms with Samantha and now has a professional respect for his newest client.

What about Donna? The issues raised between these two in 8.07 ran much deeper than David Fox’s case and posed some interesting questions for the rest of 8A. Harvey may have been angry about Donna’s deal (one that he gave her carte blanche to make), but what was more worrying was his declaration that she’s in her job because he “put her there.” Excuse me, Harvey? Did you really just say that?! Have you reverted to your 7.01 alter-ego? It was a statement that made me want to reach in to the television and strangle him with my bare hands! Hell, even Robert Zane now sees Donna’s value in her role and both respects and appreciates her, which he made very clear. Pops and Red are indeed becoming a wonderful team in their own right.

img_0441

Donna really shouldn’t have to be reminding Harvey that she earned her position, even though seeing her stand her ground so passionately was glorious and it highlighted he’s not the only one feeling sour in this “friendship.” Not only did she remind him she deserved her job, she voiced more than once that he always does what he wants, regardless of anyone else and crucially, that he didn’t respect her (okay, so she also flagged she isn’t a liar, which we all know isn’t totally true when it comes to a certain kiss, but I’ll let that slide). Her conversation about gifts with Samantha also highlighted that she doesn’t feel he appreciates her either. Those aren’t small things and unlike his relationships with Fox and Samantha, by the end of this episode, Donna and Harvey weren’t “back to normal.” Donna is clearly still angry with Harvey at the end (that last expression on her face is not a happy one) and possibly angry with herself for having feelings for a man she has perhaps suspects will never be able to give her any more than he already does.

It’ll be very interesting to see how this plays out over the coming the weeks. There are clearly emotions they need to deal with. Will that happen? Will it lead to other emotional revelations? Will Donna decide to move on and find fulfilment with someone ready to give her that and if so, how would Harvey react to that? Anything’s possible, but I’m becoming more certain that all these bubbling resentments have to boil over. Will there be fireworks? God, I hope so!

Looking ahead……..

We already know next week involves something from Samantha’s past, which she needs Harvey’s help with. Her backstory is still unfolding, but we know she had a difficult childhood and went through some form of trauma. With the episode title being “Coral Gables” I’m wondering if this will refer to a foster home or orphanage where she possibly grew up? There’s also apparently more obstacles for Louis on the path to having a child and from the photos, it seems he’s in need of Dr Lipschitz’s help to process them. My biggest question though, will Donna and Harvey pretend their unresolved issues don’t exist? Probably.

See you all next week!

Suits continues next week with episode 8.08 “Coral Gables” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the US and on Thursday via Netflix in the UK. You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/0ls6nHWMtwQ 

(Screenshots courtesy of USA Network)

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

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

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

Getting in to specifics………

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

IMG_1779.JPG

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

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

Samantha Wheeler – truly part of the team and the family

Suits - Season 8

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

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

Robert Zane learns an important lesson

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

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

242a8256ee077d0e25bf896f4294.jpeg

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

We need more Gretchen! 

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

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

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

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

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

Suits-season-8-airs-on-Netflix-on-Thursdays-at-8am-1453518

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

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

img_1781-1

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

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

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

5ba5ff71eb136a209375fb39ae7e.jpeg

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

 

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

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

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

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

Blog Post Cover.jpg

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! 

NUP_182521_0124.jpg

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

IMG_1600

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!

IMG_1604.JPG

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! 

IMG_1603

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

suits-wordpress.jpg

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

IMG_1542

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