While there has been a ton of heat around these two as they danced closer to each other and then apart and then together again, what was most compelling to me in the second season finale was that before they hooked up in the file room, Mike told Rachel he loved her. Not in a straightforward hearts and flowers way, but in a long list of things he’d loved and lost and couldn’t add to by telling her then what she wanted to know, right there, that day. But then he did anyway.
We saw this coming a few weeks ago when he helped her figure out her Harvard essay and he turned red with loss at the thought that she would be in Cambridge and he would be at Pearson Hardman without her.
We began the back half of this season with Mike and Rachel at odds because he propositioned her in the wake of his grandma’s death and she shut him down, only to change her mind and find him with Tess, who was married. They were on the outs because he’d jumped to somebody else immediately and that somebody else had a husband. Then Rachel dropped the bomb on him that she’d been there, been the other woman willingly and his decision to go down that road would bite him.
They slowly found their way back to each other. He helped her deal with her inferiority complex related to her dad and they were a united front against Katrina. And yet they didn’t round back to dating each other, and as far as we saw, after Mike wised up about getting his shit together, neither moved on to somebody else.
So in the finale, Rachel’s reeling from the Harvard rebuke and she’s confided it in Mike, who gets the truth out of Louis, which is then finally told to Rachel, and she’s livid. Not at Louis but at Mike for not helping her write a letter. Then she corners him in the file room after locking the door, and calls him on his secrets and lies and he unloads on her:
“You don’t understand what I have been though, You don’t understand what I have lost. Because it’s everything, everyone that I love–Trevor, my grandmother, Harvey, now probably this job. I am not ready to lose you. Not today.”
And she gives him an ultimatum to not lose her: “Then tell me.”
He searches her eyes to see how she will react and he searches himself for how to say it and then he does. “I never went to Harvard.”
She’s incredulous and he tries to explain and she slaps him twice and he takes it. When she goes in for a third, he grabs her arm and lets it drop. When she turns away from him and starts to walk away, he grabs her arm again and they face each silently for just a moment before they launch at each other, kissing.
And it’s feral and angry and loaded with all the things they’ve told each other and all the things they haven’t and then they start to undress each other. The director chose to shoot the scene in a beginning-middle-beginning-middle cross cut edit that makes it more desperate as they’re dressed and undressed and clinched and fumbling and back again, and it worked for these two characters who have a history and baggage finally going for it.
I’m curious what an uncut single shot would’ve looked like, too. Most revealing is that Mike and Rachel didn’t hide from each other in finally having sex–they kept their eyes locked on each other almost the whole time–the doubt and fear and hunger and determination of what they were doing was right there. Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle sold the hell out of it and Aaron Korsh gave them a powerful scene and dialogue to frame all of it.
Sidebar: I was really glad that panning away from them didn’t reveal somebody had been an aisle over the whole time, hearing all of it.
I kind of hope we pick right up at that same moment in the summer premiere vs. days or weeks later in an aftermath of being awkward or ignoring what happened or already being together. I like these two together and now that everything is on the table and Rachel’s on equal footing with Harvey, Donna, and Jessica, I want to see how they navigate that.
Suits will return for its third season this summer on USA Network. If you missed “War” you can catch it tomorrow morning at 10/9c.
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