'Suits': Shadow of a Doubt (3x05)
This week's episode of Suits took huge leaps forward with the primary plot arc of the season. While it was by no means a flawless episode, there were a lot of things about it that I truly enjoyed. I missed out on Harvey and Mike interaction, but the other relationship dynamics explored in this episode were important to touch upon as well.
Stephen tells Harvey that if he can get Ava off on her murder charges, his deal with Edward Darby will still be good. Harvey and Stephen team up, trying to prove that Cameron Dennis colluded with Tony Gianapolous. Although they seem to work together alright at first, in the end Stephen makes a risky move by targeting Gianapolous' family, and they nearly lose the opportunity. Harvey goes to Jessica, who convinces Ava to sell her shares of the company to Gianapolous. In this way, she will no longer own the company, but she will still manage it. Ava is resistant, but Jessica convinces her in the end. Gianapolous tells the truth about Cameron Dennis' actions. However, Cameron's grudge against Harvey is so strong that he decides to go on with the murder trial anyway.
Along the way, Stephen reveals his true colors to Harvey. Jessica offers Harvey quite a big gesture... she decides to allow him to be named partner. Wow! We also see how this whole Donna/Stephen thing is going to fit into a larger whole. I'll talk about that in a minute.
Meanwhile, Mike and Rachel are working together on a completely different case. As I said before, I missed seeing Harvey and Mike work together. However, it was refreshing to have an episode where Mike takes the lead on a case of his own, and even more refreshing to see Rachel show some real purpose and agency in this episode. Their case together involved a man who stole money from the firm. They go after a female employee of his, who it turns out was dating the man in secret. They get married so that she won't have to testify against him. In the end, however, Rachel tells her that she should tell the truth, since covering for a lie is going to cast a shadow over their entire relationship. This not-so-subtle metaphor for Rachel and Mike's situation becomes even more complicated when Mike goes for dinner with Rachel's parents. We find out from Rachel's dad that she has applied to Stanford, which means a possible breakup for our favorite couple.
In another brief plot line, Louis and Nigel continue to butt heads over the associates, but they are brought together by their shared love of cats.
As I said before, this episode took some big steps, but it wasn't flawless. Let's go through and look at each bit a little closer, so we can find what works well, and what could have been tweaked.
I'll start with Donna and Stephen. Some of the funniest moments in the episode came from Donna. Louis remarked on her "glow," which she attributed to yoga. Stephen and Donna had a joke at the beginning about being "surprisingly quick, but remarkably thorough." On a more serious note, I really enjoyed the way that Harvey was able to keep the personal and professional separate. When Donna told him about Stephen, he didn't seemed too perturbed. I could tell he was perhaps a little bit taken aback, but he didn't let it color his relationship with Stephen at all. That is, until Stephen brought it up. Harvey was livid that Stephen would try to use Donna's name as a way to get a rise out of him. I like this setup, because obviously Harvey's connection to Donna is personal as well as professional. I think things might get a lot more complicated in the future.
I am, however, a bit annoyed at the lack of any other plot for Donna. I want to see her being her bad-ass self and helping with a case!
Speaking of cases, I really enjoy how we're moving forward with Ava's case. It's interesting and it's keeping me on my toes. I like the way that Jessica steps in to help. I especially enjoy Harvey's new internal conflict: Jessica gave him what he wanted, but he's still secretly working to undermine her. What should he do now? Does he come clean?
However much I do like the Hessington story arc, Ava herself leaves something to be desired. The acting is fine, but the character seems a little weak. We don't know much about her outside of her involvement with the firm. This makes sense, of course, but I wish we could see a bit more of her personality. The same can be said of Cameron Dennis. I'm getting sick of this guy. His personal vendetta against Harvey makes sense, but it's also not terribly interesting anymore.
Then we have Rachel and Mike. Their plot arc was my favorite thing about this episode. Not only did we get to see both of them apply their knowledge of the law to a tricky case, but we also got to see their personal relationship grow even more. Rachel is thinking seriously about her future in law, and if that involves leaving Mike, she'd be willing to do it, even though she loves him. Yes. Thank you. Nobody's saying that it would be easy for Rachel to break up with Mike. But the bottom line is, no one would expect Mike to move to California with Rachel, because it would be a bad career move. Similarly, I really hope that the show continues to respect that no one would expect Rachel to put her relationship with Mike above her own personal goals. Especially since they have been together for such a short time and their future is anything but certain.
They are certainly out of the honeymoon phase, and we now get to see Mike and Rachel tackle real world problems. They seem to do okay, actually. Rachel makes a mistake by hiding something from Mike, but she apologizes and they are both able to move forward. I enjoy seeing a relatively functional relationship on television. The drama is all because of the circumstances, and not because of volatile and incompatible personalities.
Louis and Nigel were decently funny this week, and I did enjoy seeing how much Louis really did care about his associates, even though he's hard on them. However, I think that the central joke about Louis and Nigel (that they are essentially the same person) is being played too much. It's a funny enough premise for a joke here and there, but when they both love the same things and live their lives the same way, it's not interesting enough to sustain the character dynamic for too long. Now that the two of them are getting along again, I hope we can lay off of these sorts of comparison jokes. I guess I basically just felt like this week's Louis was a step backwards from last week's.
I've already mentioned Jessica, but I just want to emphasis once more how much I enjoyed the twist at the end of this episode. Seeing "Pearson Darby Specter" written out on a business card like that was not something I had been expecting. I am continually impressed with this show's ability to push the envelope. They never drag their feet, and new plot developments come often.
Next week's episode will be an exploration of the characters' lives ten years ago. I'm really excited about it, but I hope that the episode manages to continue pushing things forward, even as we look back.