Suits: (S06E12) “The Painting”


Holding on and letting go

You might have been tunning into Suits for the past six years because of the humor, or the clothes, or the badass one liners, or the cases, or relationship… but, no matter what your reason might have been, it cannot be denied that at the core of these storylines, the way they have formulated and will continue to formulate, is Harvey’s way of dealing with the world and where it comes from.

This episode had two main plots, one concerning Mike finally going into the right direction of achieving his goal of helping people, and the other, about Harvey finding the path to forgiveness. These two storylines have been getting the basis through the entire show and it feels so incredibly special to see them getting closer towards achieving happiness in their lives.

Mike was approached by Nathan, a guy running a legal clinic with whom he didn’t really have a pleasant past, but has now seen the good in him and offered a job. It’s a great message they were trying to send with the way his attitude has changed from the flashback in season 4 to now, honesty being the best policy. Throughout the episode he was faced with struggles regarding his past and people unable of trusting him or believing his intentions are genuine. I think in the way the world works, ex-convicts often find themselves in situations where they aren’t given a second chance, and despite the fact that Mike has been lucky enough to be given one, the show is still staying true to the fact that it’s harder to start over than one might think.

He has to let go of a huge part of “the past him”, but manages to hold onto the goodness of his character that has been, even more than his photographic memory, making him the way he is from the start. To a huge extent, he is pushed to do so by Melissa, a student who works at the clinic and is stubborn about receiving his help considering his situation. By the end of the episode, he seems to have learned even more that even though the truth might be harsh and that he’ll maybe have to sit in the back row of the court and watch, instead of speak, his personality can always shine through.

We might have thought that Harvey has been reluctant to forgiving his mother in the past but we got to learn in this episode, named ‘The Painting’ after the only visible bond he had with her for the past 7 years, that it is not exactly so. In the flashbacks, which also reveal yet another layer to the depth of his relationship with Donna and The Specters, we find out that he has tried to forgive her before. I think it’s important to note the fact that his character development throughout the show has been very visible (and incredible to watch) but in a lot of ways reached its peak in this episode. He has truly decided that he wants to be happy. He knows that he’ll hate what his mother did his whole life, but he can’t and doesn’t want to hate her as a person.

And for someone who has been so deeply scarred by her actions, that is a huge thing to admit and even more- apply to life. We follow his path back, in flashback and present time, and Harvey is not the only one who finds it hard to deal with this new situation. We can see that other members of the family are faced with a similar issue since he has missed many years of being there for them and since his last visit many relationships have strengthened and became  more valuable than he last remembers – like Bobby, his mom’s boyfriend – now husband and Marcus’ children “grandpa”.

Back in season 2, Donna told Harvey, that he continues to fight for what’s in the firm, but not what is in his heart, and as if he had remembered her words, he finally does the opposite. He stays there for a few days, and fights for his inner peace and for what he values most in life – family. It was (at least personally for me) a huge relief to see that his mother was not applied some story that would justify her wrong doings, she is just human and by avoiding that, his actions of forgiveness got even more meaning.

When he returned back, with a bigger smile on his face than in a while and a picture to replace that painting, the firm as he knows it was still waiting for him. Louis, with the help of Donna and Rachel, managed to overcome his short temper and the nature to “not forgive” for long enough to keep the place together, and hopefully, the growth of the guys on the show will continue in this direction.

Just when the episode was coming full circle, a typical tune of Suits-like music started playing in the background and we got the answer to the question of what Harvey needed Donna for in their supposedly last scene of the episode. It was simple. Just putting on a picture with his mother, whom he hasn’t been okay with for 20 years, in his office, for everyone to see, for him to be reminded of every day, and he asked her to be there, quickly walk to the wall when he thought it was already perfectly straightened up and fix something, and look back at him. And then just stand there, in silence, observing. There were no lines, not a single word spoken. Simple.

But not really, it was letting go of the past, achieving what Donna has been trying to help him get over for a decade, letting in and holding on – to each other.