Dana's firm has a Learjet, and she's bragging about it - and then she's hitting on Harvey again. They end up sleeping together on the plane. Like you didn't see that coming from a mile away. That's one way for him to get over Zoe. Yet when they touch down in Parkville and get to the Folsom Foods plant, Hardman is there waiting for them.
Donna finds an upset Rachel in her office, holding a letter from Harvard, and deduces that she didn't get into Harvard Law. But she doesn't get time to ask about that, as Mike is popping up out of nowhere, wanting Rachel's help going through a lot of boxes to dig into Hanley Folsom's personal correspondent. He calls Harvey to say he knows why the Parkville manager was promoted.
Cut to said manager being deposed. "You're not exactly like other women, are you?" Harvey suddenly says, saying her applications for management had been turned down four times before. He then brings up that the manager had a hysterectomy nine months before she was promoted. "Hanley Folsom only promotes women whose attention to home and family isn't in question," he asserts.
Hardman is not impressed by this new argument. Neither is Dana, who chews Harvey out for not telling her what he knew. "What the hell's really going on?" he asks her. She points out that previously losing to him means that she's never been seen as "worthy of being a name partner" at her firm. She needs a big win to get her name on the door - the same thing he wants.
Back at Pearson Hardman, there's one box missing, and Mike takes Jessica's wrath for Rachel. When Rachel tries to apologize, he tells her, "I don't want to hear it." Katrina comes in not long after and drops Jessica's name again, telling Rachel to work on something else for her. "I'm doing my job and I need you to do yours," she comments. Rachel is not impressed.
She also tearfully admits to Louis that she didn't get into Harvard. "That doesn't make any sense," Louis says, and once she mentions Sheila's name, he deduces that she was wronged. "I'm gonna rectify this situation," he decides, and he's gone before Rachel can ask for clarification.
When Harvey and Dana return from their trip, both their bosses want to see them in Jessica's office for a status report. "I have an ulterior motive in our little venture," Dana's boss says, and it's revealed that he's not a fan of Hardman either. Although the meeting seems almost boring, Dana deduces that their bosses are not happy. Katrina pokes her head into Harvey's office, and that's how Mike finds out Katrina scooped him an hour ago.
Mike strides into Katrina's office and accuses her of diverting Rachel and stealing his idea. This leads to another pithy fight. And speaking of fighting, an angry Louis marches himself right down to Sheila (guest star Rachael Harris) to give her what for on Rachel's behalf. "You let the personal color the professional, and Rachel Zane will not be a casualty of your misplaced anger," he tells her. She finds this a turn-on, and you can guess what happens next.
After that, he again presses her to help Rachel, but she tells him that it didn't have anything to do with them. She has a reject pile of people with better resumes. "So who do I knock out?" she asks him. "Louis, I liked her. I did. You're just going to have to tell her the truth. Sometmes good isn't good enough."
At the firm, Mike plots with Rachel to try and get ahead of Katrina. Their plan involves Rachel turning on the flirt, which causes Mike's entire brain to go blank for five seconds. The look on Patrick J. Adams' face is priceless. Lots of Bond references fly as Mike walks into Jessica's office and interrupts her chat with Harvey to hand them something big. "This is the key to everything," Harvey says.
Hardman and Folsom stride into Pearson Hardman and are met by Jessica, Mike and Harvey. Dana's waiting in the conference room, along with the Parkville plant manager, who's reading Folsom's damning personal email. It proves that the manager was, in fact, promoted because Folsom knew she couldn't have kids. "It's one case," Hardman says. "We'll see you at the next 44." As he leaves, he notices that his name's missing from the wall, too.
Mike and Rachel return to her office to find Katrina in her chair, angry about the theft. It's fine when she does it, but not when it's done to her. She accuses Mike of sleeping with Rachel, and so Rachel tells her to "get the hell out of my office." Over in Jessica's office, she's meeting with Dana's boss about his offer. "If we're going to do this, I want to you to know exactly what it is you're getting yourself into," she says, handing over a copy of their books from the past five years.
Harvey walks by and doesn't like what he sees. This sends him directly to Dana, saying that "they're talking merger." Yes, she's been withholding information from him yet again. "I want to see our names on the same door," she pleads, but he's not that thrilled. "I don't need you to get my name on the door, any more than I need you to win this case," he retorts, determined that the merger won't be happening.
Jessica and Dana's boss meet Hardman and we find out that since she let him read their books - a legal requirement for any merger - he knows about Hardman's embezzlement, and he can tell Folsom all about it. Hardman blusters a lot, but nobody wants to hear it.
And Louis sits down with Rachel to tell her that she didn't get into Harvard Law "because I let you down." He allows her to think that it is about him and Sheila, so that she doesn't blame herself, and offers to write her a recommendation for any other law school. It's a really sweet thing for the normally not-sweet Louis to do, and another great moment in a recent string of them for Rick Hoffman. But Rachel doesn't want to go anywhere else but Harvard, and she breaks down once Louis is gone.
"Normandy" plays around with a couple of polarizing characters in Dana Scott and Katrina Bennett. Neither one has ever been a particularly standout character, and this episode doesn't change that. The two ladies mostly exist as foils for Harvey and Mike, and the latter gets to be so abrasive that it goes beyond just being irritating enough for the audience to root for Mike's one-upping her. It actually starts to take away from enjoyment of the episode. Suits can do without both characters. That's why they call them guest stars, though; they further a certain story, and then the show moves on.
What's interesting about this episode is that it starts to paint a little more of a picture as to how screwed up Pearson Hardman is. Yes, we've heard talk over the last four episodes about the firm being in dire straits, but hearing it is one thing - having a whole scene about their financial limitations is another, and it's a nice touch. It's the proof in the pudding, showing that the situation isn't just a bunch of dramatic words, but something that is seriously going to be addressed in the series. We've all seen the shows which create dramatic situations simply so people can angst, and then everyone is fine in the next episode or two. This is not one of those shows. It never has been.
Is the merger going to go through? Is somebody finally going to get their name on the door? (Something has to cover up those holes in the wall.) And if someone does, how will that change the firm's dynamic? These are all questions we get to worry about, and that's wonderful. Any time a show can leave you with questions to chew on for the next six days until a new episode, that's great entertainment.
"Normandy" successfully sets the table for all sorts of game-changers in the upcoming season finale, whether it's the potential merger, Harvey's continuing quest to get his name on the wall, or how Rachel will cope after not getting into Harvard Law. This is an episode that perhaps isn't flawless on its own, but it brings everything together before the final act, and that's all you can ask for.
And, as an added bonus, here's some Valentine's Day love for all of you below!
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.