'Suits': Conflict of Interest (3x04)
This week on Suits, we saw Ava Hessington's plot take important steps forward. We saw Jessica and Harvey's rivalry grow. We saw some interesting developments with Katrina. And... we saw some stuff that didn't need to be there at all. I can't say I walked away from this week's episode entirely thrilled, but I also wasn't disappointed. I'll start with a brief summary of the plot.
Harvey is working on Ava's murder case, while Louis works the Hessington Oil case. For the first time, we see in the way in which Hessington Oil and Ava Hessington are separate clients of the firm. This causes some tension between the Harvey & Mike team and the Louis & Katrina team. With Jessica's conniving help, Louis goes to the board of Hessington Oil and convinces them to save their company by ousting Ava. After the shocking discovery of Ava's innocence, Louis and Katrina become uncomfortable with the sneaky plan, but Jessica doesn't care. She does not let Louis back out, and Ava loses her company.
Meanwhile, Donna and Stephen have entered into an "arrangement" of sorts, wherein they agree to keep things casual for the six weeks that Stephen is in town. They go to see a show but they end up leaving before it starts. Rachel plays the role of gossiping girlfriend as she asks Donna what exactly is going on with her and Stephen. In the end, Donna realizes she needs to tell Harvey about her... relationship... with Stephen, but doesn't find the right time to do so. Mike and Rachel share their very first "I love you."
So. There was good and there was bad. Let's start with the bad.
Rachel. I love Rachel, but this season she's had almost nothing to do outside of her relationship with Mike. I'm fine with the fact that she doesn't have some big individual plot going on right now. That's okay. But I found it annoying that this whole episode she basically hung around just to banter with Donna, and then they threw in a conversation at the end with Mike for no real reason. I think it's sweet that they say "I love you" to one another, but it made no sense to me that Rachel would be jealous of Katrina. Really? That seemed petty and insecure. I guess I'm hoping that in the future, Rachel will get a richer plot and more screen time to explore her character.
Donna and Stephen. Once again, I have no real problem with Donna's current story-arc centering around her relationship with a man. I think there's potential here, because I think Stephen is bad news, and Donna might end up getting hurt. In that way, we're going to have to see her handle a tough personal situation, and I think it could be interesting to watch. But there was one part of this plot thread that just made me sick. Donna has to tell Harvey about Stephen. Technically, it's none of Harvey's business, but I can see how Donna would want to make sure he knew about it, since it has the potential to get tied up in work stuff. When she tries to tell him, however, Harvey is rude and abrasive, telling Donna that she works for him and no one else. Donna looks honestly afraid of Harvey for a moment, and she decides not to tell him.
So, obviously Harvey was upset about other stuff and he took it out on Donna. But the way Donna reacted in this scene made me think that she's used to putting up with this sort of behavior from him. And that makes me really uncomfortable. Does Harvey use Donna as his verbal punching bag whenever he's in a bad mood? When he does find out about Stephen, what is he going to do about it? Ultimately, I'm nervous about the direction of this story line for several reasons. I hope that both Rachel and Donna can have some stuff coming up that's not centered around their relationships with men.
Ava is innocent. Okay? Not really what I was expecting at this juncture. Last week, we got this seriously intense setup where we all pretty much knew that Ava was guilty, and we were going to have to see how Harvey and Mike handled that. Now, that's erased pretty much instantaneously. I don't mind that she's innocent, because it played into the rest of the plot so well. But it would have been nice to have some more time to ruminate on this issue. (On a different note, here... Ava - played by Michelle Fairley - gave a stellar performance when she discussed the tragedy that she has been accused of orchestrating.).
Now, onto the good stuff.
All the Pearson Darby drama is very intense and interesting to watch. Louis and Harvey are seen working together, and then working against one another, but ultimately this episode proves that both of them are good people. Louis went behind Harvey's back, but once he found out that Ava was innocent, he felt genuinely bad about it. I really enjoyed Louis in this episode. He hasn't had enough to do this season, so I was glad to see his character explore some difficult choices here. He was clearly happy to have Jessica conspiring with him, but he still wanted to do the right thing when the truth came out.
Speaking of Jessica, this episode took a rather dark turn with her. More than ever, Jessica seems like the villain. The way she was willing to go against Ava was really intense. She honestly didn't care that Ava was innocent. She was willing to do whatever it took to be in a position of power. Her interactions with Darby were interesting, because it highlighted the growing conflict between them. They both gave as good as they got, and neither character had the upper hand. I feel as though I'm supposed to root for Jessica over Darby, but at this point she's a little bit too immoral to be sympathetic. But it's not a bad thing - in fact, I think it's an enormously satisfying development for the character. I'm excited to see what's next!
Katrina - I can't believe I actually get to list Katrina under the good section of this review! She's still not my favorite character by any means, but her interactions with Mike were still nice to see. I'm not sure how genuine she is, but it seemed as though she really has decided to be loyal to Louis. In this way, we can see how Mike and Katrina won't be able to be friends by any means because of their loyalties to (respectively) Harvey and Louis. But they can respect each other now. The references to The Wire and The Sopranos were really fun, too. Hopefully this means that Katrina will start to stabilize into a more interesting and important character. I enjoyed her arc in this episode. Now here's hoping the show doesn't revert back to her earlier scheming!
Some other nuts and bolts:
Donna looked fabulous in all of her different dresses. I'm not usually big on noticing fashion, but I loved those outfits.
Not much on the bromance front, but I did like Mike helping Harvey out by pretending to be British. His accent was so adorably bad!
Along with Mike and Katrina's television preferences, we had references to Forrest Gump and to Les Mis. I always love these moments.
Overall? There were missteps, but I think the strength of the cases and of Jessica's descent into villainy were enough to make this episode a good one. Now that Ava has been ousted from her company, it will be interesting to see what comes up next. I want to know if Harvey will be successful in getting his name on the door - and if he does, what will it mean for Jessica?
See ya next week!
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