Harvey tells Jessica that she needs to speak to Louis herself, and then realizes that was her plan all along. "His anger is deep," he warns her. "He wants us to feel pain." In what must be a huge sacrifice for Harvey, he tells Jessica to give Louis his beloved office. The resulting conversation between Jessica and Louis is painful. "There's only an us when you want something from me," he tells her, and he has a legitimate point, even if it's leading him in a wrong direction. One not-so-veiled threat causes her not only to not offer him Harvey's office, but come back with an even bigger threat for him to chew on.
Unsurprisingly, this makes Louis go back to Hardman, but not in the way you might think. He demands to know why Hardman set him up as the fall guy for his embezzlement. "Do you realize you could've destroyed my entire career? Maybe even sent me to prison?" Louis tells him. "And you want me to vote for you?" Hardman pulls out his schtick about how he's a changed man yet again, before playing to Louis's ego and need for approval.
Moving on, Harvey tells his client that the athlete has agreed to Mike's deal, which the sportscaster does not appreciate because it means he can't ever talk about the guy ever again. As if that's not bad enough for him, the source isn't happy about being exposed, either. Harvey convinces his client that to protect his source, he needs to take the deal. Case closed. As Harvey breaks the news to Jessica, Louis arrives with his partnership buy-in check, saying she can wait another day to find out who he'll vote for.
Meanwhile, Mike is preparing his grandmother's new apartment when Rachel shows up there to tell him that his grandmother has passed away. He's crushed as he realizes that not only is she gone, but she never got to see the place he picked out for her, and breaks down crying while Rachel hugs him.
"Asterisk" gets all the ducks in a row for next week's episode, with plenty of little bits here and there to keep the fans entertained. We're wound up perfectly for the partnership vote, with no real idea of how it's going to go; this is real suspense. It's rare for a TV show not to tip its hand somehow, but the Suits writers have done that, and done so in a way that makes great sense.
Louis is that character we've loved to hate, and so can we really blame him for feeling like an outcast? It almost make the audience implicit in the situation, because heaven knows Louis has deserved the moments over the season where Harvey has shown him up or shut him down, and now we see what impact those moments have had on him. It'd be really easy to make him a one-dimensional blowhard, but the writers and Rick Hoffman have gone so much further with his character.
This is also the second time the show has given us inklings of Rachel the potential lawyer, so one wonders if she'll be headed down that track either this season or in the future, and what that will mean for the show. Obviously, she wouldn't be leaving, but would the show get another paralegal? Would it even need one? Food for thought, but it represents continued growth for her character beyond simply being Mike's love interest. Again, it would have been easy for her character to remain one-dimensional, but this show doesn't do that with its characters.
It's also plenty fun to see Rick Hoffman's parents playing his character's parents, although that pleasant surprise was out of the bag days ago thanks to Twitter and network promotion. And who didn't cheer and/or clap when Donna walked back into the firm? That's the feel-good moment of the season, right there. We've been waiting and hoping and trending Twitter hashtags, and now we really do have Donna back, right when we're going to need her most.
But let's also take a moment to mourn the passing of Mike's grandmother. It's true that she really didn't have much to do on the show, but he loved her and because we love him, it still carries a punch for the audience. (Not to mention that, as a fan of Wings in my childhood, it was a pleasure to see Rebecca Schull back on television.) It will be interesting to see how much of an impact her death has on him - both in terms of within the show itself, and because Patrick J. Adams is very, very good at emotional performances, so we may be about to see some of his best work.
This episode is the last piece of the story before the climax, and it sets up what should be a fantastic ending to the first act of a phenomenal second season. I'm honestly running out of superlatives for this show.
ICYMI, all Donna fans should check out my interview with and feature on the talented Sarah Rafferty to find out more on the woman behind our favorite assistant. Just one more episode before the summer hiatus!
For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my Starpulse writer page and follow me on Twitter (@tvbrittanyf).
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.