Suits (S07E09) “Shame”

Review:

Shame

Last week’s episode, as the biggest milestone of the show so far, concluded the major storyline for this half season. The question of what comes next, as we inch closer to the big mid-season finale was now answered. While Donna’s inner struggles remain the constant, there were three new storylines introduced just the week before 7×10.
We all love when Suits gets personal. Despite the premise of the show that was very much present till the end of the previous season, the characters and their close-knit relationships remain the heart of it all. Last night’s forty minutes consisted of plots that went from professional to personal at just the right pace, to leave us wanting more.
To begin with, we have Louis the morning after Sheila. His overdosing on TV (relatable), in this case Game of Thrones, resulted in his imagination walking with him down the halls of Pearson Specter Litt. Even though the first scene was so very funny and so very Louis (those two really remain interchangeable), it also perfectly summed up how he feels after his night of passion with the love of his life… who is marrying another guy. He feels ashamed, responsible and confused.
So, in search of distraction, he ends up forcing Gretchen to cancel his meeting with Lipschitz and redirects his frustration onto a case with Brian (the child-having, yelled-at associate from the early 7A). When it comes to Louis, there are usually two directions. One of them includes irrational behavior overdose, the other some introspection. This episode chose both to prove that he can still remain Louis while starting to understand and accept the things about him that make his character the way he is – passionate, impulsive, insecure and paranoid.
Despite his initial dislike for Brian, Louis is now faced with the fact that they have much more in common than he would have thought. While going after another company’s product, that overlaps with their client’s, he witnesses his associate’s passionate outburst when his fatherhood is questioned. Now, not only does Louis respect his devotion to the role of a parent because he wants that for himself so much, but he also relates to the habit of jumping in defense mode when his own insecurities are being tested (I mean, isn’t that pretty much Louis Litt, a summary?). So, as they do bond over their similar characteristics, Brian ends up making a mistake that could cost them their client. The improved Louis would maybe react more calmly, however, the awful mistake plus his imaginary conversation with a certain very hurt and betrayed fiancé, sends him into a spiral that ends with him insulting Brian and seemingly ruining all the progress they made in their relationship.
However, here is where Gretchen jumps in (Do women save this show and everything that goes wrong on it? Yes. The end.). She uses her deep knowledge of Louis and a sharp tone to put everyone in their place. She tells Louis he needs to get himself help and start dealing with the truth, which is that he simply cannot act this way anymore. Following that, she gets Lipschitz to move the missed appointment and come to the office (Louis telling him Sheila was “it” and them deciding to really start dealing with his irrational behavior. Catch me crying). Gretchen (while on her winning streak) also confronts Brian and drops some very much needed truth bombs. Yes, Louis did not handle the situation well, but the mistake he made as an associate was stupid and he needs to take responsibility for that.
Even though this started as a legal plot, the episode ended on a very private note, with Louis and Brian sharing a moment, holding his newborn baby. And for a moment, all is well in his universe. Thank you Gretchen.
Similarly to Louis, Rachel’s plot also took a more personal note in this episode, while starting out as a legal battle. I have referred to Rachel as the one carrying “Donna duties” into season 7, in the sense that she seems to be the moral compass and voice of reason for everyone, now that the real queen of all of the above (a certain redhead) is finally exploring her own demons, instead of helping everyone else with theirs. With that, comes the fact that there was not much light put into Rachel’s work as a new lawyer… until this episode. Her dad, Robert Zane, comes with a proposition to work on a pro bono case together.
It starts out as a problem regarding people of color being treated differently by loan officers at a large bank. The issues they often touch upon with these types of cases (like Bailey case in season 6) are of big importance and It is always good to see them being talked about. However, as the episode progresses, Rachel becomes aware that her father seems to be acting more irrational and visibly emotionally implicated as usual, which implies there is more to the story than just the already present racial problem. She turns out to be right, when she gets her dad to admit the CEO of the bank they are suing ruined his sister’s life.
“She way young, beautiful, full of life” and these characteristics got her boss to develop an inappropriate interest for her, which was rightfully disliked and followed by a threat to report it to the authorities. When she stood up for herself she was fired and never got up on her feet again. Robert was young and could not help her. She died. And he has been carrying the aftermath of his inability to aid her on his shoulders ever since.
The case has not been finished yet, and will continue in the next episode, which means we will see more of Rachel using the talent and the legal mind she possesses. Even though the case initially shed light on an already very important topic, it got even more value and personal implication for her when her dad opened up (A+ for the way their relationship has evolved since earlier seasons when they could not even sit through a dinner), pushing the stakes even higher.
The third important storyline of the episode started off as Harvey and Mike, who have been standing on opposite sides of the battle often recently, trying to start over. Mike signs a client that is being sued by the new attorney general. However, their motive behind doing so is sending out a strong message about Harvey’s work as the new managing partner. Mike feels partially guilty for complicating his friend’s first weeks on the new position with the prison reform case, so he tries to go out of his way to help them get a new beginning and prove that PSL is very much thriving with life and power. And what better way to do that than take on the AG and beat him?
We are talking about the episode preparing us for the mid-season finale, which means that things progress pretty fast, as the situation gets personal for Harvey. The new attorney general turns out to be Andy Malik, someone who worked along him and Donna at the DA’s office and always loathed his work ethics and close relationship with Cameron Dennis. Because he has some very old and (apparently) deep rooted hatered for them, but also duty to fulfill as the AG, he devotes all his time and attention to defeating Harvey and Mike’s client, as well as prove himself to be better than them.
That leads him to finding dirt on Harvey, in the form of a memo that he supposedly destroyed a long time ago. He gets there by accusing PSL’s client of having written one of her own that proves her infringements, but it missing because of the lawyer representing her. All he needs to validate his claim, is evidence that Harvey did it once before, so of course he could have done it again… and who better to go to when you need information on that guy than Donna… 
So, with his knowledge of their close work dynamic with each other at the DA’s, Andy sends her a formal notice and in no more than a few days days, she will have to get on the stand and testify. That changes everything. Harvey gets protective (throwback to season two mock trial where Louis brought up Donna’s feelings for Harvey that we all remember, because to quote Rachel “How could *we* not?”) but Donna insists on doing what has to be done.
Because Andy’s case is not just about finding justice and shutting down the boss of the company, but also getting back at them, it becomes apparent fast that she needs to be prepared for the worst. And who to count on when they want it brutal and honest and raw, if not Louis? So they do. After some much-needed persuasion, because he indeed was traumatized after the already mentioned mock trial (same) once before, he agrees in order to protect his friend.
When the show goes into making parallels of storylines that already had much importance in the past, it is for sure always for a specific reason. Back then Louis did not have half as much information on the depths of Harvey and Donna’s bond, but he still managed to hit on something deep and real that caused a lot of complications and assumptions surrounding the beloved relationship. But times are so different now. There is all this (not so much silent anymore-) understanding present between the characters about what the two are (and could be) backed up by information (such as the fact that they slept together, Louis knows, don’t forget) that this might lead to a very interesting and challenging remake of something that was once already given to us. The questions remain: How will Louis go around it? Will they top what was given to us in a much different context once before?
Even though this episode’s focus was on the newly introduced storylines that will probably get closure in the mid-season finale titled “Donna”, there is also this specific redhead’s plot that continues to be present all through each episode, this one being no different.
After her backing out of a “hot date” with a married ex-boyfriend in the previous episode, she was now struggling with the aftermath, the shame of coming close to doing something that goes against her moral code and reasons that pushed her to reach a point where she could easily self-implode. It all comes down to her regrets. Although she did not want to confide in Rachel at first, she finds the strength to do so at the end of the episode. All roads lead to… Darvey. So she ends up admitting that she is battling something much deeper than just the idea of giving up one guy for Harvey. It is the question of “do I regret putting him over myself?”.
 
The next episode (judging from the synopsis and the promo) will continue to tackle this question, while Harvey and Mike’s case just became Louis’ and Donna’s as well. The professional legal storylines are becoming personal, and the characters are turning to their work family for help. That’s exactly what one would call grounds for a good mid-season finale. The showrunner Aaron Korsh said much of what is coming our way, has been in the works for six seasons and nine episodes, and now with only a week left to wait …
Suits mid-season finale airs next Wednesday on 9/8c on USA Network.