Not many shows these days get lucky enough to reach special milestones, one of them definitely being the 100th episodes. Suits happens to be one of the lucky few and was in this week’s installation celebrating the first three digit. It’s often expected for fans to be “rewarded” with an AU episode or a special event taking place, however, Suits writers decided to keep the content in line with what has been happening this season and if you didn’t know in advance that we are talking about a milestone episode, I wonder if the fact even became apparently throughout the course of those 40 minutes.
We have Alex, Harvey and Mike finally working out their conflict with prison reform that we have been dealing with practically through the whole of 7A so far, Donna’s journey of self-exploration going down a path where her morals and emotional stability was put to a test, Louis dealing with a blast from the past – Sheila and experiencing a very similar situation of emotional turmoil as Donna, and last, we got another glimpse into Harvey and Dr. Agard’s relationship.
At the beginning of the episode we see Mike give Harvey a very Suits like peep talk about them being the ones who can save the day (really… good talk, learned a lot). Following that, the conflict Mike had with Alex and Harvey (seemingly) starts getting resolved as they call Robert Zane on the case. As one would expect that brings forth different complications. First one being their different approaches to battling the case (as Zane doesn’t have to consider Alex’s safety and wellbeing and Harvey can’t keep his word and stay out of it, surprise!).
So, Harvey and Mike get into yet another conflict with Reform Corp as they receive a threat of forcefully removing Galo from the case (the decision to involve him again made by Robert who actually wants justice for all the people being put into prisons and used there by big corporations). Mike, who wanted to save the day, remember?, walks himself over to the prison and asks the guy who once threatened him and Rachel to take some money and remove himself from being a witness. However, Gallo seeks redemption with his daughter and realizes money isn’t going to cut it. He wants her to know he can be a half decent human being and decides to pass on the duo’s offer in order to do just that.
After having an argument with Mike where Rachel again had to explain to him that she is her own person, a grown woman that can take care of herself and demands to be a part of conversations and not put into uncomfortable positions, she over hears him and Harvey talking about going over her father’s head to remove Gallo from the case. After yet again having to remind them of her worth (rightfully so, because these men literally never learn), she comes up with a solution, which brings us to the second conflicts. The fact that Gallo had acquired pictures of Rachel back in the day when Mike was serving his sentence in prison. Rachel finds a way to mold Galo’s past blackmailing to work in favor of their goal to remove him from the witness list.
That results in Robert Zane wanting to take a few punches at Harvey (who said he will stay out of it, funny), Mike jumps in and they straighten things up once and for all. Using the pictures was Rachel’s idea. Putting Gallo on the stand is nonnegotiable. Robert walks out as determined as ever to keep this case alive…
…The problem, however appears, when Gallo turns out to be the exact opposite of that. Following the not so subtle threat Reform Corp guy makes if Harvey doesn’t insure Gallo’s removal from the whole situation, he ends up dead (guess who arranged it…). But at the last second, as it tends to happen on Suits, Robert Zane shows up with a recorder conversation where Gallo drew a map of all Reform Corp and Bratton’s wrong doings for him. Not only did the tape become admissible, as Gallo is dead now, it also resulted in Harvey, Mike and Alex getting their whole bucket list practically delivered to them (from Sapiro’s signed confession to Bratton’s resignation letter) as a consequence. At least someone got everything they wanted out of the 100th episode. Was justice to those prisoners and Gallo’s plotted death served though? No.
On the other hand, we have Louis and Donna and the more personal, character oriented plot of the night.
In the previous weeks we saw Harvey struggle with telling Donna about his new relationship. It turned out, they were both bothered by the outcome of him letting her know. Donna’s world practically turned upside down as she was finally forced to deal with feelings and thought she has more or less subconsciously carried with herself for the entirety of their relationship, and Harvey with her deciding to try and move on (the key thing at the end of 7×06 and Harvey staring at said key this week before calling his Dr. feel good, anyone?) while reassuring his not therapist that all was well and she had nothing to worry about. The storm of emotion that overcame Donna resulted in her introspecting that brought her to one of the »what ifs« of her romantic past.
Mark was (from what little we saw of him) the perfect boyfriend. He was thoughtful and supportive. However, back in the day, he fairly pointed out that he can’t live with a person that is following another guy wherever he goes and Donna made her own choice to stick with Harvey. She wasn’t ready to let go, she didn’t see a reason why she should or she just simply wasn’t at a place emotionally and mentally that would be required to open that can of worms and deal with feelings, both her and Harvey have for each other.
Fast forward to this episode, Donna decides to give Mark a call, in her search of answers as to why she is feeling alone and what could fulfill her »more« in personal life. Already from their phone conversation, it is more than obvious that this man is still stuck on what they had and could have had. He agrees to meet her for lunch the next day and they seem to hit it off as if no time has passed. The atmosphere changes when he admits that he has been married for 3 years and unhappily so. In that moment, Donna makes it clear to him that she isn’t going to be the »answer to his problems« and cuts the lunch short.
However, between this encounter and the ending of the episode, she is hit with a bunch of deep rooted realizations that largely influence her decision making. We have her honest conversation with Louis on the rooftop where they both dwell on the fact that the people they thought were the »loves of their lives« are involved with other people, followed by Mark calling her and telling her he doesn’t want to walk away from her once again (Korsh said in an interview that this guy considers Donna the one for him, which explains why he is desperate to keep her in his life in any way he can, now that she reopened the doors). To add some cherries on top, Donna encounters Paula (who once again proved that the writers are literally molding her to fit the – sorry for the expression – lesser version of the qualities Donna carries) who somehow just happens to know one of Harvey’s favorite places and continues to be giggly over her cool cars owning boyfriend Harvey Specter.
After all these bombs are dropped on Donna, she ends up being confused and in desperate need of holding onto the feelings in her life that make some sense. Hence why when Rachel suggests a night out, Donna tells her she has »something like that« (that being a hot date) planned for the evening already.
Now here is something to understand about her decision to go through with seeing Mark, even though he is married and she said she won’t be the »answer to his problems«. This wasn’t about her being that. This was about a woman who spent her whole adulthood investing herself in other people’s emotional lives and wellbeing while (for some reason yet still not completely known to us) pushed away any confusions that affected her personally. She now needed an answer to the million questions that hit her all at the same time, and in this moment of confusion and reaching the »breaking point« she felt as though going for something that was already known to her and she could understand will present her with a fix.
Sarah Rafferty (who portrays Donna) pointed out that she is trying to deal with this overwhelming sense of loneliness in her life, while other people she used to take care of are at the seemingly opposite points in their lives. And that is exactly what pushed her to almost go through with a questionable decision.
You could feel her sense of hesitation when she was exiting the elevator, but after Rachel sent her a text which read »You deserve the best« she really woke up and her moral compass took over. She wasn’t going to make a mistake and go against her standards just because she is reaching a breaking point and wants an answer. This proposition to go to a married man with whom she had history and »what ifs« with, that she ultimately refused, didn’t serve to make her weak or desperate (although you can still stumble upon negative connotations and lack of understanding). It showed a vulnerable being that she is beyond the layers of confidence, wit, smarts and all the other things that defined her as Donna for so many years. Challenging the limits of an iconic persona like her in such raw and hard way, to me, is the definition of character exploration (albeit coming very late into the show, but I guess this whole mess was the big push she needed because habits are hard to shake off).
As mentioned, the storyline paralleling Donna’s journey in this episode was Louis’. After not getting any offered candidates from Columbia law school, he, in his truest fashion marches through the doors and demands answers. But when he does, he is met with a very familiar face. In order to follow her fiancé, Sheila Szas, the possible love of his life (and gosh how iconic is this relationship, is it possible to not laugh at their encounters? Probably not) he is hit with a wave of emotions. He appears to be supportive of her decisions and understands that she didn’t want to hurt him by offering an associate and having him find out about the development in her romantic life… but we know better and soon he is dealing with hurt that the news carries for him.
Soon though, he receives a very interesting call where Sheila tells him she couldn’t bring herself to confront him because she still can’t get him out of her system. It wasn’t just about Louis’ feelings, it was about her own. Paralleling Harvey’s struggles with telling Donna, Sheila, however, chooses a very different route that comes from the fact that she is a lot more self-aware as well as, come on, they are Sheila and Louis, we know it will end up being weird, very sexual and very extra. And that it did. She wants to spend one last night with him before she gets married and Louis goes through his own mental process but ultimately, as opposed to Donna, gives in (she was his big love after all). Prior to going to Sheila, he also tells Rachel that he feels like this could be his chance for some happiness, albeit momentarily, and he does take it. It remains to be seen what the outcome of his decision will be for both involved, but if there is one thing their scenes in this episode proved, it is that there just is something about them and the way they dance around each other and with each other, that is so very hard to come by and he won’t be able to find anywhere else.
The one on surface uncomplicated and straight storyline in this very episode is Harvey and Paula. Harvey doesn’t call for a few days. She reacts by asking him to dinner. He agrees. They go to one of his favorite places. She gives him a 2 month anniversary gift. Harvey (who knew Donna’s 6 month anniversary with another man in the previous episode, sorry I have to bring this up, I can’t get out of my skin) of course, forgets that they have an anniversary on that day. Agard doesn’t seem to mind, but he still gives her the very same key Donna gave back in 7×06. He says the fact that he didn’t know it was their anniversary makes his gesture even more special (… I guess? I mean, he is the Shakespeare, so I trust his judgement since he got this whole romance thing covered now all of a sudden after a few decades… I just don’t get the point he was trying to make, you know?) and she accepts. They toast and have a good laugh together. Yay, Happy Harvey!
There really isn’t much more to say about them, other than the fact that this relationship’s (which had no build up or explanation as to why they are doing this other than the fact that Agard was at a very vulnerable point in her life with her ex cheating on her and she is »human and flawed«) purpose has not been explained yet. We get hints, like Agard’s face when she saw Donna the office, Harvey obsessing over the key, them obsessing over Donna in the previous episodes, Agard being the »perfect girlfriend« who understands and doesn’t ask questions, but it still remains to be seen how this rushed romance ends for two people that only knew each other so far as a patient and therapist and didn’t deal with other very obvious problems and doubts their relationship raises, apart from ethics. Why her? How did Harvey suddenly become so aware and good with words over night? Where is this going?
All of these questions, as well as the aftermaths of Louis’ and Donna’s decisions are yet to be explored and are much more character focused than the major 7A storyline that ended this episode. Although there was some solid progress achieved throughout the course of 7×08 and much of it was (though many will disagree) quite enjoyable, it is hard to get pass the fact that this was the 100th episode… in theory.
Everything was kept in the flow of the general plotline of season 7 so much, that even the most loved relationships on the show did not get the screen time they deserve (..or any at all) and even though the show shouldn’t serve the public it has, these episodes are usually the ones that take a moment and appreciate the fact that viewers tune in, watch, support, love and invest themselves in this fictional world. It is a shame that on a milestone such as this episode is, we did not get to reflect and be reminded of the core of the show we are watching.
The bond that the main characters share and nurture above any conflict, outside love interests and professional disagreements.
Suits is back with another episode next week, Wednesday 9/8c on Usa Network.