Louis is on his way out when a bloodied Mike stumbles in, and Louis insists on hauling him into the restroom and tending to his injuries. He asks Mike what happened, and Mike tells him vaguely, "Let's just say that actions have consequences." He turns the conversation on to Louis, and Louis confides in Mike about how Harvey hates him, but he didn't always feel that way. They used to be friendly off the clock. Mike asks Louis for help going over the paperwork for Trent's merger, suggesting that it might redeem him to Harvey.
The next morning, Jessica confronts Harvey about being on tilt, just as Mike walks into Harvey's office with the paperwork he and Louis were up all night going over. Harvey asks about Mike's face and says he's going to kick the ass of the person who did it, which is oddly sweet. When Mike references the story Harvey told him about Harvey's parents, Harvey correctly infers about Mike's affair and tells him that he got off easy. He's further shocked that Mike went to Louis and Louis, not Mike, exposed what's really going on with Trent's alleged sweet deal. Turns out it's not so sweet after all.
Harvey confronts Allison at lunch, gloating from the word go. He tells her that not only did he get Trent back, but he now represents the hedge fund as well. She's hardly thrown - and offers him a job working with her. "We're not the only ones circling," she tells him, pointing out that her firm has stolen all Pearson Hardman's best senior associates. Cue Mike handing a resume to Jimmy...but it's Harold's. He's calling in his favor with Jimmy to get Harold a job. "He needs a second chance, just like you did," he says.
In Jessica's office, Harvey and Jessica have another heart to heart. He tells her that he wants his name on the door. "I don't want to end-around you anymore. I want to discuss things with you, as an equal," he tells her. Jessica rebuffs him, saying that she's "not rushing this decision," which doesn't seem to sit well with him, even though she makes a great comparison, reminding him that Michael Jordan was significantly worse in the front office than he was on the basketball court.
While Mike finds out that Rachel doesn't care about him ending things with Tess, Harvey tears up Louis's resignation letter. Louis has a lot of unpacking to do.
What stands out about "Blood in the Water" is the ability of Suits to play the long game - something that is increasingly uncommon in television. This is an episode, by and large, devoted to the fallout from events in previous episodes. Whereas other shows might have left that behind after the midseason finale, Suits is showing us the consequences of characters' actions and how they're affected as people by the choices that they've made.
That gives the show a certain amount of credibility, because the audience knows that there is no assurance everything is going to be okay. A great example of that came earlier this season: how many people expected that Donna would actually be fired? Sure, she came back, but another show would have never dared to let the story go that far. Similarly, while it turned out that Louis wasn't going anywhere, this episode did a good job of making us worry about him.
Which segues into another strength of the episode - that Louis actually had a point. The characters of Suits aren't black and white, and this episode shows that as well. Just because Harvey is our main protagonist doesn't mean he's always right, and just because Louis can be an antagonist doesn't mean he doesn't have legitimate concerns. All of these characters are three-dimensional and they all have merit, which is a credit to not only the depth of the writing but also the talented ensemble, who make us care about all of these people. That's something special about Suits: technically, it's a legal drama - something which oftentimes boils down to facts - but it's a series that evokes everything that's beyond just what's on paper.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.