Woah. Stephen Huntley is responsible for the murders.
Should I have given a spoiler alert before writing that? Here's the thing - I feel as if people are going to have very mixed reactions to this news. I'm conflicted, myself. On the one hand, I definitely didn't see that coming. On the other... I really didn't see it coming. As in... there weren't very many helpful hints leading up to that reveal. So what do I think of this plot twist? I think... it's... probably going to be very interesting to see how the characters handle it. In that sense, I think it's good. But from a plot standpoint, I am unconvinced. I feel as if we needed more of a buildup, or a better understanding of Huntley's character, before such a big twist occurred.
But of course that was only the big shock of the episode, and there were lots of other things going on that we have to talk about. Let's start with the most important subplot, which involved Rachel, Louis, Nigel, and a cat. Basically, Nigel returns from his trip and demands his cat back, but Louis has grown so attached to her that he decides to sue Nigel for custody, using Rachel as his lawyer. Does this sound like an elaborate setup for some weak comedy? Yes. Does it turn out that way? Surprisingly, no.
I did have some problems with this subplot. Rachel is given a chance to shine, but ultimately the case itself is made to look like a joke. It seemed a bit like a step backwards for her professional growth, especially after she worked that case with Mike a few episodes back. At the end of the arc, Nigel loses the cat but then offers Louis a trade: Nigel gets his cat back, while Louis regains control of the associates. This was another weak point for me, because it felt like an easy solution to a barely-explored problem. I wanted to see the associates struggle under Nigel's guidance, or I wanted to see them secretly going to Louis for help while Nigel was away. Something, anything, so that we could feel an emotional response to Louis getting the associates back.
But there were also a lot of strong things going on here: while the premise of a mock-trial over cat-custody seems absurd, the emotional stakes were not played for laughs. Louis clearly cares very deeply for the cat, and misses his own dearly departed Bruno. Nigel also cares about the cat. Both men also care about their jobs. These emotions are genuine and it was nice to see them explored a bit here. We also had some nice funny moments, such as Rachel coming to Mike for help and announcing that she was about to lose her first trial - "a mock case. About a cat." Harold makes an appearance to testify against Louis, but ends up admitting that Louis genuinely did love Bruno. Rachel does a great job with the case and has a lot of really bad ass moments in the fake trial. Even if the case was played off to be trivial, it was still nice to see her succeed.
And, as we find out, Rachel got in to Colombia Law School! I am of course excited to see where this will take the character, but I'm also a bit upset that she shares this moment with Louis instead of with Mike. Call me a helpless romantic, but I really want to see how this new piece of news will affect their relationship. Regardless, it was sweet to see Louis be excited for Rachel. I hope we get some more exploration of this new development very soon.
But now we must of course turn to the main plot of the week: the continuing drama of Cameron Dennis vs. Harvey Specter. But this week, things get interesting. Dennis has access to a new witness, the Colonel who carried out the killings. We learn that Nick (Ava's old assistant) might have been the first person to speak directly with the colonel, which gives Jessica the idea to pin the murders on him. Mike gets information from Cameron that shows that Nick might very well be guilty, but Nick manages to convince them that he is not. After hearing from Donna that Stephen is still sniffing around the case, Mike starts looking a bit closer and discovers to his horror that Stephen Huntley is the party responsible for the murders. Harvey, furious, confronts him and the two of them get into a physical altercation.
That's a lot of stuff going on, and as I mentioned before, I'm not too thrilled about the twist with Stephen. However, the execution in this individual episode was pretty solid, so I have to give them props for that. Due to time constraints in my own life, I'm going to go ahead and briefly mention some of the best parts of this main plot, in list form.
- Jessica and Harvey's relationship. Harvey is humbled, a puppy with his tail between his legs. Jessica is angry, as she should be, but she seems willing to work with Harvey all the same. I particularly loved Darby's interference this week, as he pointed out that Harvey coming clean could be a part of the manipulation as well. Jessica talks with Harvey about it, and he doesn't exactly deny it. He knew that coming clean would make Jessica mad at Darby. But even this newest revelation isn't enough to permanently end their working relationship, or even their personal one. Jessica was the best she's been all season in this episode.
- Mike's memory. The scene where he tricked Cameron and found out about Nick was brilliant. 'Nuff said. I also loved how involved Mike was with everything going on in the case. When Jessica reveals (in front of Mike) that Harvey spilled the beans about the deal with Darby, Mike looks surprised and worried. However, in the very first opportunity given, Harvey rushes to reassure Mike that he was planning on telling him everything. Their relationship this season is built on a foundation of trust even more solid than the one they had before Mike's betrayal. While it wasn't the direction I wanted them to go initially (I thought it would have been interesting to watch them struggle to work together again), it is still nice to see them make such a good team.
- Donna. She was willing to continue seeing Stephen even after Harvey yelled at him, but the minute she found out about Stephen's duplicitous ways, she was done with him. For good. She didn't even tell Harvey about it, because she didn't know the extent to which Stephen was involved. When she found out, she was immediately close to tears. It must have been so awful for her to find out that this man she cared for is a murderer. When she apologizes to Harvey, that's when things finally get really intense. Harvey seemed to be in stunned disbelief at first, while Mike was explaining Stephen's role in events. But the minute he took notice of Donna's heartbroken expression, he was livid. I liked this scene because it did not imply that Donna was incapable of protecting herself, but it did show that Harvey cares deeply for her.
There are a lot of other things I could say about this episode. For the most part, it was fantastic. As an individual episode, I would give it extremely high marks. But as it fits into the cohesive whole, I'm a bit more skeptical. The truth about Stephen is out now, and I am nervous for how they will handle this fallout. We'll see what the next episode brings!