Suits: Shadow of a Doubt.

Previously on Suits: Conflict of Interest.

Ways in which this episode was much better than the season so far:

  • Mike and Harvey working together again (though the lion share of work was the conflict between Harvey and Stephen)
  • Donna and Stephen continuing their arrangement
  • Mike and Rachel working on a case together and kicking ass
  • Louis not being built up only to tear him down
  • Harvey and Jessica’s issues coming closer to being resolved/Harvey visibly crumbling under the strain of maintaining his hurt rage when he doesn’t really want to anymore

Ways in which this episode was still kinda bad:

  • Mike’s ridiculous double standard when it comes to his secret and to Rachel’s

The writers treated Louis well this episode, for several reasons: one, they showed him as a nurturing character, which he absolutely is. He saw and supported Donna’s glow immediately, and not for the sake of her then being more attractive to the male gaze or some shit, no. He told her to promise him to keep doing what she’s doing because she’s fabulous and he wants her to feel like that for herself, he wants her to feel confident and beautiful for no-one’s sake but her own. She’s Donna, and he respects the living daylights out of her, and it’s brilliant. Two, his way of, ultimately, caring about the associates and them being properly taught and guided and then dealing with Nigel — or should I say, Nigel’s cat? A demanding, slightly capricious feline who knows exactly what she wants, and Louis loves it. (His relationship with Sheila had obvious D/s workings, and the writers managed to make it just part of who Louis is, and not use it to make him look weak; this shines through here, too, funnily enough.) Plus, it looks like he and Nigel may finally bond over her again, so maybe there’s harmony on the horizon. Louis, you really shouldn’t have put him on your list. Or, well. Writers, you fucked that up.

I wrote last week that the lion share of this season’s conflict is resting on Harvey’s bruised ego and equally battered pride, and that it’s really starting to stretch my willingness to suspend disbelief. This week, with Jessica’s — I do believe sincere — gesture of putting his name on the door along with hers and Darby’s, Harvey’s visibly struggling with keeping it up. It looks like he’s mostly keeping the deal alive because he feels like he can’t back out now without losing face, and without Darby having enough blackmail material to drain the Hudson River. I’m also not entirely ready to discard the theory that, maybe, he’s been playing Darby to get rid of him and undo the deal all along, and needed to antagonise Jessica as much as possible to make it look real, but I know that that’s a gamble with a lot of risk. It would certainly make for an interesting twist, but I’m not sure the writers would go for that.

In either case, Harvey looks haggard in his scenes with Jessica. He told Dennis in one of the first episodes that he wasn’t his mentor, Jessica was. It’s one thing to have to maintain the facade for the outside world (and especially in that moment, they had to present a united front), but he meant it. Harvey’s a sucker for loyalty, but he’s also a sucker for surviving. I cannot believe that he’d continue to be so blind to the fact that Jessica did what she had to do to keep her firm, and continue to control it. Fine, he was convinced he could win against Hardman. But what if he hadn’t?

Now, Mike and Rachel… Mike, stop being such a dick. Revealing your secret just happened to bring you and Rachel closer together, it wasn’t a fucking foregone conclusion, so stop acting like it was and you knew all along.

She could have dumped him; and, as I’ve said before, he doesn’t deserve her. Applying to Stanford and other law schools is a big step in one’s life, and it’s so damn important to Rachel — Mike knows this. Sometimes, with decisions like these, you don’t want to talk about it until you’re ready. You don’t want to jinx it, you’re afraid how someone will react, no matter how much you love them. It’s her choice, even if one might argue that, as they are a couple, he has a right to know. He does, yes, but Mike also told Rachel’s dad that he’d never stand in her way, but then she has to ask him to give her the same freedom in coming to a decision that she’d given him, no questions asked. He’s let her down so many times, and she knew that he’d be upset for all the wrong reasons. Being anxious about her possibly moving so far away is perfectly alright, but he’s got no moral high ground to speak of. Rachel thinking about it as a fresh start can mean a lot of things — they probably weren’t even together yet when she sent off the applications. The show has jerked her around a lot in the last season and at the beginning of this one, so it’s nice to see that she’s being given the room to stand her ground firmly on this issue, at least.

Also, there was the thing about Donna telling Harvey about her arrangement with Stephen. Their relationship is very layered and complex, and the writers have managed to cram so much subtext and thinly veiled references in there that it’s getting tough to see the forest for the trees. There’s Donna telling Rachel, in Season 2, that “the feelings just go away,” and dodging the questions about her and Harvey while they’re drinking in his office. There was, of course, the famous mock trial after the Disaster of the Planted Memo. I really would have liked it if they could’ve refrained at least from the first part. As we see in the promo for the next episode — I’m serious, if you claim you didn’t scream at least twice, you either don’t have a pulse or you’re lying — she rebuffs Harvey’s advances at once. Harvey’s reaction to her revelation seemed ambiguous. It was probably equal parts his lingering distrust of Stephen and his unwillingness to share. Sometimes, even platonic friends who don’t usually claim any exclusivity can feel jealous when there’s a new significant other on the scene, so can siblings. Perhaps Harvey just doesn’t want to share, selfish twit that he is.

Next episode: The Other Time.

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