Columns / Recaps

Two Takes: Suits “Hard Truths”

Photo Credit: Shane Mahood/USA Network

The midseason finale of the seventh season of USA Network’s Suits left us all hangin’ in a big, big way. That last image of Donna and Harvey kissing had everyone A) Cheering. And 2) Wondering what the fallout would be when new episodes returned.

It should surprise no one that has watched Suits from the beginning that Harvey would react badly. In the season 7B premiere, there was some serious Donna and Harvey tension. And not the good kind that we’re used to between them.

This also led to some key scenes between Harvey and his doctor significant other, Paula. Let’s just say some “Hard Truths” were revealed. And a big question was asked.

In other news, Alex learned to appreciate Mike’s gut while it was Rachel who really stepped up to help out in his case of the week.

Finally, Harvey and Louis went into protect Jessica mode. Instead what really happened is they were forced to throw her under the bus in painful, painful fashion.

Tina: Cortney, Cortney, Cortney. I am going to take the easy way out here and kick it back to you a.s.a.p. Because I feel like I need to know your thoughts on Harvey before I say even one word on him. Because as expected (at least by me), he didn’t take the kiss too well.

Photo Credit: Ian Watson/USA Network

And while I understand where he’s coming from, he did what he always does. Instead of working things out in a more reflective manner, he laid waste to Donna. And turned into enemy number one…at least for a good 40 minutes of this midseason premiere. Thoughts?

Cortney: While I don’t love taking the lead on this one, I can’t blame you, it was brutal and I would have done the same! Harvey was a class A, level 1 jerk this episode and I was not pleased. Yes, I get his reaction, especially at first — shock can do a number on anyone — but for him to keep that attitude going for most of the episode, especially after Donna was straight with him, not cool.

And the way he took things out on her and cut her out of actual work issues because of his personal issues (and yes, he has many personal issues, which we’ll definitely discuss), also not cool.

But as we know, Harvey wants what Harvey wants and in this case, he wanted to continue to ignore the elephant in the room and not shake things up. This meant both ignoring what’s between him and Donna and choosing not to tell Paula. But why, we ask? Is it because he’s scared he does have feelings for Donna that he doesn’t want to acknowledge? Or is it because he doesn’t have feelings for her and also doesn’t want to admit that?

Tina, what do you think? And what do you think about him waiting to tell Paula? Also, I can’t let you off the hook — Donna said she didn’t feel anything in that kiss…Harvey didn’t admit the same…we can’t pretend not to have noticed.

Tina: Well, for one, I don’t believe Donna. Maybe that is me continuing to be a Darvey shipper, but I don’t think she was being truthful with him. This was her way of letting him off the hook.

And, yes, the way Harvey acted was brutal. He chose to tap into the passive aggressive side of his persona, which, as we all know, he does so very often. He had Donna wondering if he lost faith in her professionally. The way he treated the partner candidate for the firm was abominable. He just can’t compartmentalize for the life of him. At least until he finally comes out of his cloud of anger and frustration. It was very frustrating to, once again, see this side of him.

Having said that I have to defend Mr. Specter as well. Everything we know about him, from the very beginning of this series, is he has a code he lives by. He sure as s–t can be shady professionally when he feels he’s in the right. He’ll go the extra mile to come out on top. What he won’t do is cheat in his relationships. And that has everything to do with his mother and him keeping her affair a secret. That affected him at his very core, especially since he was so close to his father.

Call Harvey a million awful things. But don’t call him a cheater. And Donna kissing him while he’s in a relationship goes against everything he stands for. So while I don’t excuse the horrible way he acted towards Donna, professionally, I think he had a right to be upset personally. Unfortunately, he tends to squander any sympathy when he behaves so badly and destructively.

I’m going to leave you with these comments. And then I’ll get to Paula after I see your response to my defense. LOL

Cortney: I agree, no cheating is his #1 personal rule, which is noble. That being said, having slept with Donna YEARS ago, before Paula, wasn’t cheating. And being kissed BY Donna also wasn’t cheating (whether he kissed back is a whole other conversation), which is why hiding it from Paula feels like a problem to me.

Photo Credit: Ian Watson/USA Network

He made what could easily have been “not a big deal” in to a “big deal” by keeping a secret, which is essentially the very thing about his mother’s affair that destroyed him. So while I do understand his anger at Donna for putting him in the position of being seen as a “cheater,” the fact that he did the exact other thing that he despises (keeping secrets), well, that falls on him.

As far as treating both Donna and the new potential partner in that way professionally, I don’t even have words. He is a shark and bulldozes his way through all of his external cases, which is why he’s such a successful lawyer; however, as we’ve seen many times, he often does that when it comes to his inter-company issues as well, which rarely ends as favorably.

Is it just me or do you feel like now that Paula and Harvey are dating and she can’t be his therapist, he needs a new therapist to help him work through his issues and inappropriately passive aggressive reactions? See how I brought it back around to Paula there, Tina? Let’s hear what you think….

Tina: First, I agree. On his part he didn’t cheat. But Donna knows his boundaries. She, above anyone else, knows his ins and outs and ups and downs and all arounds. She knows she was putting him in a bad situation by doing what she did. But again, I don’t think she deserved to be treated so badly by Harvey.

And you’re right. He was the one to make it weird when he didn’t tell Paula right away. That was a telling thing to me. With every revelation to his girlfriend he said he didn’t want to tell her because he was afraid. Probably because Paula’s a smart woman. She would immediately think something was not quite right in Denmark between them.

He not only didn’t tell her about the kiss right away but he didn’t tell her about sleeping with Donna right away either. Part of me wonders why he needed to tell her about Donna in the first place. Is it because He and Donna work together? If they slept together so long ago is it something Harvey was obligated to tell Paula? I’m not an expert on relationships. So somebody needs to fill me in on the etiquette of that kind of thing.

And you know how I feel about Harvey and therapy. He should be in it. Now. And he should still have Paula as his therapist. She was a good one. Until she and Harvey paired up after a supposed “legal” amount of time passed. I still call bananas on that one. However much time passed, it still wasn’t enough to make this relationship okay ethically. But that’s just my opinion.

I’ve said this before but I feel like the show usurped Harvey’s shrink storyline and gave it to Louis. Although I can’t complain because Louis SO needs to be in therapy. And I love seeing his sessions with his doctor. I can’t fault them for making this move but I remain disappointed that they ended Harvey’s therapy storyline for this.

Hmmm…are we all talked out about Donna, Harvey and Paula? Oh wait. Have we mentioned that instead of telling Paula about the kiss he asked her to move in with him instead? And the fact that he kept telling her how she made him forget everything that’s going on or she makes the world doesn’t matter or some variation of that. He said the words. I just didn’t believe the sentiment. Is it just me not being into the pairing? Or did those words ring hollow for you too?

Cortney: I hear you on the therapy storyline, something about dating your shrink feels both inevitable and unacceptable. I guess the fact that you’re opening up and baring your soul to them creates a feeling of connection that mimics those of a personal relationship, but the fact that you’re paying them and they’re providing a professional service makes it oh-so-different.

Not to mention, how do you get out of that dynamic once you start dating? How does one go from giving “professional advice” to taking off the therapist hat and giving supportive “boyfriend/girlfriend” advice? To me, the lines are blurry. I have a lot of therapist friends and I know it can be hard for them to turn that part of them off so as you can probably tell, I think about this a lot.

Tina: My sister’s a therapist. And she has such a problem with how therapists on TV are portrayed. And I don’t blame her at all. That’s why I was so hopeful about Paula’s presence in Harvey’s life. She was so good as Harvey’s doctor. As his girlfriend, I’m not feeling it.

Cortney: I agree. Sometimes you just want someone to listen, not to judge or be thinking how to fix it and considering how Harvey and Paula’s relationship started and how much she knows about him, I’m not sure this is possible. I mean, even when he asked her to move in and then admitted about Donna, Paula was already analyzing why he’d done that. I don’t blame her, it’s how her mind works, but still, I’m not sure that it’ll work for Harvey.

As far as giving the storyline to Louis, I definitely can’t be mad at that since those scenes with Dr. Lipschitz were so phenomenal! I definitely want more! So now, let’s move on to Louis. Despite their best efforts, he and Harvey had to make a tough call and turn their back on Jessica, saying things about her that others should have been saying about them.

Tina, what did you think of this? I know how hard this must have been for Harvey, but I also feel like Jessica, of all people, would understand the situation they’re in.

Tina: Jessica understands. She knows they had to do what they had to do. And it’s going to make her rise from the ashes that much more fascinating when Gina Torres’ Jessica Pearson spin-off finally sees the light of day on USA. I can’t wait for that.

But I do love Harvey and Louis’ loyalty for Jessica. I appreciate how they had to swallow pride to enlist the help of the old name partner Stanley Gordon (Bruce McGill). Of course the douchebag reneged on their deal. And then he got what he wanted — Jessica’s name dragged through the mud. I know there’s bad blood between them but I don’t care. Jessica didn’t deserve that.

Photo Credit: Shane Mahood/USA Network

I appreciate how hard they worked to at least get the announcement of her disbarment delayed. Louis even resorted to blackmail to get that Seidel ethics committee guy to help them out. It backfired, though. Seidel (Michael B. Silver) resigned and Louis and Harvey only had 36 hours to figure out how to handle things with minimum damage and there’s also the matter of the money they owe Jessica.

But, Cortney. The statement that Harvey and Louis had to release to get in front of this disaster was devastating. Not just for me and Jessica but for Harvey and Louis, too.

Harvey: So you want me to say about her what we should be saying about me?
Louis: Harvey…It’s the only way.

And then there’s the actual statement. I transcribed it because it was one of the most painful things I’ve ever heard in regards to this show. And this show deals in pain and regret and characters taking one for the team.

Two days ago the NY state board of ethics voted to disbar Jessica Pearson. As the firm’s managing partner, I completely support this decision. Jessica Pearson’s conduct was not only selfish and unethical, it was also reckless. For that reason effective immediately, the name Jessica Pearson will no longer be associated in any way with our firm. With the removal of this name, I look forward to bringing this disgraceful chapter of our firm’s history to a close.

DEVASTATION.

Yeah, I’m taking the brutal route once again and am leaving you with those words. It’s all yours, Cortney.

Cortney: Selfish. Reckless. Disgraceful. Those are some pretty strong words and definitely hit where it hurts. Obviously, Harvey is recognizing not only what NEEDS to be said to protect the firm but also the consequences of his own actions and how they affect others. Not to play therapist, but he’s definitely turning the mirror on himself.

And knowing Harvey, it won’t end here. I’m sure he’ll continue to take this hard. I can only hope it won’t impact the firm and the team more than it should. After all, as name partner, he needs to set an example and so far, he’s not doing a great job.

Speaking of the team, what were your thoughts on Alex serving up his case to Mike this week, questioning his approach and then Rachel stepping in and knocking it out of the park for the win?

Tina: Before I get to that, I wanted to say I did wonder whether we’d actually see Gina Torres in this episode. Although it was much more powerful that all this went down without seeing her at all.

Photo Credit: Ian Watson/USA Network

Okay on to Mike and Alex. Well, I think the MVP of the whole Alex/Mike/Quality Foods back and forth was Rachel. This storyline gave me a new respect for her. Because honestly, Harvey wasn’t the only one acting douche-y. What comes to mind the most is that Mike was so upset over the fact he felt Alex didn’t trust his instincts or judgment or whatever. But when he turned to Rachel for help and she didn’t say how Mike was right and Alex was wrong, he got all testy.

I thought I’d be supported not second-guessed.

Whoa. Self-involved much? She always supports him. But patting him on the back and saying there, there, you’re right, honey, isn’t always the way to do it. She’s not afraid to show him that there may be another perspective in play here.

And, of course, in the end, she went above and beyond. She did trust his instincts (like she always does) and found out the problem with his case. She helped make Mike look great with Alex and with Quality Foods.

I know you wanted me to talk about the Alex/Mike conflict but the Rachel component was much more interesting to me. What did you think of Alex and Mike? And Rachel? Because it also seemed that Mike really wants to work more and more with his fiancee. Which definitely made me feel like this is the beginning of the end for these two characters in the Suits universe and that makes me sad.

Photo Credit: Ian Watson/USA Network

Cortney: I agree. Mike wanted to be babied, but he should know that’s not who Rachel is. She supported him in the way that she knows how (and honestly, a way that I think is BETTER than babying) and honestly, that’s part of what Mike loves about her so for him to be all bent out of shape just reflected poorly on him.

As far as Alex and Mike, that actually was the secondary storyline for me too. I know we won’t have Rachel around much longer (thanks, Prince Harry!) so I love seeing as much of her being a powerhouse as we can. Even though she’s only an associate, she carries herself as more and I have no doubt her legacy will leave an impact after she’s gone.

I am actually really eager to see Mike and Rachel work together in a more official capacity….although, that being said, I wonder why it’s taken Mike so long to realize this would be a good thing?? Considering Rachel’s smarts, drive and overall awesomeness, he seems a little slow to jump on that bandwagon, but I guess better late than never!

Anything else you want to say about these two, Tina? Or about anything else in general?

Tina: The thing between Alex and Mike was just a brief conflict, thankfully. It resulted in Alex (off screen) going to Harvey and telling him he feels Mike should be a senior partner. Then a cool, peaceful moment between Harvey and Donna happened. He went to her to ask her what she thought about this development. And after an entire episode of antagonistic Harvey it was nice for Donna and the audience to see that he still does trust her judgment.

And how happy was I to hear that she feels Mike isn’t ready to be a senior partner yet? Don’t get me wrong. Mike is an awesome lawyer. But he’s been an official one for two seconds. He shouldn’t be bumped up to senior partner just yet. I know Mike would disagree because he has a high sense of self. But, to me, he’s not ready. Harvey just gave him everything he wanted to come to work at PSL (now SL, I assume). It’s okay to make him wait a while to bump him up to anything more. What did you think about this?

Cortney: I completely agree on all fronts. Mike may have been practicing law for longer than two years, but after all that he put the firm through with the whole not-being-a-real-lawyer debacle, he definitely needs to invest a bit more time and really earn the Senior title.

However, I did think it was interesting that Alex went to bat for him and asked that of Harvey. In my opinion, Alex is still fairly new and earning his wings himself, so for him to speak up and pitch something like that felt a bit premature to me. Nevertheless, I do like him and hope he’ll get more substantial story lines in the back half of the season.

And now, since we started with Harvey and Donna, it only feels appropriate to end with Harvey and Donna. Harvey does trust Donna. Regardless of how ridiculous and immature he acts, that trust is still embedded deep down inside and I’m glad we got a glimpse of it before the episode ended. Not to mention that I always love when, as per usual, the insight Donna gives was spot on and Harvey can’t deny it.

No matter what’s going on between these two, Donna always manages to provide Harvey with the rational, reasonable logic that keeps things at SL running smoothly….even if it does require him to set aside his own issues and take his head of his you-know-where to see it.

Photo Credit: Shane Mahood/USA Network

Suits airs Wednesday nights at 9/8c on USA Network.

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