Suits (S07E11) “Hard Truths”

Review:

Hard “truths”

After one of the longest hiatuses in the history of the show, this mid-season premiere was, needless to say, long awaited. While there were plenty of conflicts from the previous half season yet to be resolved, the episode called “Hard truths”, ironically continued fueling much of the main conflicts with lies. Was it worth the wait anyways? I say yes.

This episode revolved around three main storylines that will continue through 7B – the future of Pearson Specter Litt, Mike and Rachel and  the majority of the ep being the Darvey of it all.

We ended the previous episode on a cliffhanger (sort of?) of the two kissing, and her walking out of the room, right after muttering “I just had to know”. Harvey looked shaken up, and as Louis points out in the premiere as well, that continued in the aftermath, as he wandered the halls of Pearson Specter Litt – overwhelmed, lost and ready to go home and do some damage control (because we all know how good he is at that… huh).

As he entered his apartment, dr. Agard, also known as Harvey’s girlfriend, was waiting for him. Of course her presence at this vulnerable and confusing moment catches Harvey off guard and as the result of being emotional confused and feeling incredibly guilty, he asks Paula to move in. While he is a good enough lawyer, to come up with a believable reason on the spot, the show runner (Tv Line, postmortem) summarizes his actual thought process perfectly:

“I’ve just been through something that I want to run away from. I feel safe when I’m with you. Let’s be in a bubble and never deal with that thing that happened. I don’t have to deal with it there. I don’t want to deal with it here.”

She is his safety blanket, so of course, irrationally, he finds it as the smartest thing to do. Not only will he feel better and less of a “cheater” if he makes a romantic gesture, but he will also ensure that he does not have to deal with what the kiss made him feel. Paula though, for the first time in a while, brings up her previous relationship – she moved forward with another therapist, who was also her business partner, but she ended up getting cheated on. Thus, she doesn’t want to rush anything and through explaining this, says no to Harvey’s suggestion.

But of course, after this moment of irrationality, Harvey continues his trip down the road to petty land. Interestingly so, the first thing he does the next day,is something we have once before, in a different setting, seen on the show. Going back twelve years, Donna asked Harvey to forget their night together in order to continue their working relationship. And of course, unable to make own decisions and deal with the moment properly, Harvey practically demands the same of her now. Not only are they never supposed to speak of it again, he never wants her to try and do something like it from that point on. Donna, probably knowing it was pointless to fight him in that moment, says “Okay. It will never happen again” (foreshadowing for when it will happen? yes, I stand by my words) and then… they try to slip back into business talk.   

However, as the episode progresses, we see more and more, that they are becoming petty and unable to maintain the bubble of – “we are fine” – that they have always been much better at sporting. After an incredibly telling (and petty) moment where they are, as COO and managing partner, unable to interview a potential senior partner, Donna takes matters into her own hands and decides she wants to discuss the kiss. Period. 

And the conversation takes an interesting turn. While we are used to the two toeing the line of their partnership, just enough that we are on the edge of our sits but not quite where we want to be, they start pushing it further this time. It appears that they are, to a certain extent and one definitely more than the other, aware of the fact that their relationship is complicated (to say the least). Even though Harvey thinks that their lines have been perfectly clear (she did make that rule, right?), Donna points out, that the limits they set on their relationship have gotten completely blurry.

Interestingly so, Harvey brings up Donna’s “more” at this very moment. Going back to the season six finale and everything that followed after Donna’s admission of wanting to explore her life and find that “something more”, the word and the hidden meaning behind it appears to stay the constant in their slooooow-burning (also like, Harvey went to Paula less than 2 days after she said that, coincidence? I think not, let’s keep remembering this).

Which brings us to one of the biggest gasp moments of the episode. With half a year of speculation, on what the kiss made the two feel and if Harvey indeed is Donna’s more, the redhead surprises us by saying she felt nothing. Literally. She even goes on to say “That’s right?!” and reveals that whatever she went into the kiss wanting to find, was just not there.

At that point, Harvey’s face falls (and honestly, same), but because of who he is, he is still too overwhelmed with the cheating aspect of it, to acknowledge her words. Donna’s lie (?), can arguably so, also be seen as her trying to give him a way out and make this whole “You made me the one thing I never wanted to be” issue a tad less complicated and overwhelming for him (and herself??), but she goes further – and tells him that him feeling nothing when he kissed her as well, means he can tell Paula about it and move on. 

That is where it gets even more complicated, because Harvey clearly did feel something. He is human after all, he explains. And then… he goes back to the cheating bit. It is clear, at that point, that he is too occupied with feeling guilty, to really explore how he felt when they kissed.

While Donna claims she felt nothing (and does anyone really believe her?), she makes a very contradictory point, by saying that if he told his girlfriend they also (coughs) once, which did not mean anything either – right?, the kiss can’t really be the worst thing to disclose. Now that would only makes sense, had she not told Rachel in season 4 that sleeping with Harvey made her realize she would have wanted to try a relationship with him. But now, according to her, all that was nothing in the grand scheme of things. Really Donna? Why you lying? And again, this is not followed by him questioning anything, but rather by silence and awkwardness, before she realizes Harvey hadn’t told Paula about “The Other Time” either.  

Because he is so broken by the idea of having kissed another person while in a relationship, he diverts from the topic of their complicated partnership once again, and leaves Donna speechless by touching on the core of who they were – his trust in her judgment, or more like, the sudden lack of it.

Even though Donna does not regret what she did and is clearly standing by her action, albeit irrational one, she does have a heartfelt moment with Louis, which makes her question the way she has been going about the topic with Harvey. The answer being – she did do something she shouldn’t have, at that moment, with the one person she cares about most and she should apologize.

Following this realization, she finds Harvey on the rooftop (“I had a feeling that you were up here”, I cry) and apologizes. The important thing is, that she still would have done the same, were she to go back to that night (or at least she doesn’t know if she would do it differently) but the question is why? Is it because she really realized she felt nothing and that liberated her or was it because she came to some other conclusion that we have yet to be made aware of? 

At that point, Harvey tells her what the aftermath of it has been for him. He told Paula about the kiss “two days after the fact” and of course she didn’t’ take it well. But what he fails to mention, is the fact that her main concern was him making a clearly – very staged and irrational romantic gesture (the moving in thing, sorry for reminding you) – following the kiss. He had asked Paula, why couldn’t it be that the event made him realize he wants to be with her? But she pointed out that it didn’t seem like it did (!!!). 

He, of course, doesn’t tell any of this to Donna, and continues being too occupied with the issue of cheating to acknowledge it himself. She leaves the roof, letting him be alone with his thoughts… and he seems to reach a rather mature conclusion about one thing at least, which we see in their last scene of the episode…

Harvey comes in to Donna’s office (<3) to get her advice on a professional, but for them also rather personal matter: should Mike make senior partner? But the question works as a catalyst, for them to address the fact that she is still his go-to person and he has always trusted her judgment. Making a point, that their seemingly honest and raw conversation they had in the lobby, was just a bunch of sentences spoken in heat of a moment. After acknowledging, that at least in some ways, her kissing him was justified – because she did it for herself, they share a tender moment and a hug (I guess once they opened the door for touching… might as well take advantage of it? “Always”.)

The shoot zooms out, as they approach each other, and it makes us see the situation from an unusual distance. The anger of making quality  close screen caps and gif sets aside, the moment done that way is perfect. Not only does it show them hugging on pretty much the same spot, in the same room, as the kiss happened just one episode prior,  but they are also portrayed in their own bubble – impossible for an outsider to come close too and very hard for us to understand.

Just days before, and within the same episode, they were miles apart and accusing each other of some pretty heavy stuff. But it still took Harvey less than one whole episode, to forgive her and accept what she did, and for them to get somewhat back on track, for now. Thus, their bond and partnership as such, has been put on such an abstract level, that even when beaten up by issues, fights and false admissions, it very much remains. 

Following that scene, Harvey goes back to dr. Agard, because there is more for him left to admit. Even though, in their previous scene, Paula’s rational side made a very much anticipated come back (it’s been forever), there was still more left for Harvey to tell her. When she had brought up the fact that it surprises her something more has not happened between him and Donna in the past (why are you dating him?), he let that slip by and avoid admitting that in fact – it has. So now, with a  tail between his legs, his “but I was afraid”, makes a return, as he explains that him and Donna had indeed shared one night together, and yes it only happened that night, and it was only once… but is about all the information he gives her. He fails to, once again, explain his feelings with regards to the situation, and with her face filled with shock, the question of how she will react closes the episode. Hard truth, Paula?

Even though they put us through a big darvey rollercoaster through out the course of the episode, some of the very important patterns appeared – Donna dismissed the whole thing, despite the fact that her search for “more” was leading up to the kiss for many episodes, Harvey continued to return to the topic of cheating, and refused to deal with the actual core of the kiss and what it did to him, and in the end, despite the fact, they rose above their  differences, to remain… whatever they think they are.

Now this would have been a concerning and underwhelming conclusion to the continuous push and pull, had it not been for it being the mid-season premiere. This was the first episode, and there is much more to follow. The fact that Harvey hasn’t made himself clear and on the other hand, Donna managed to make herself all too clear for it to develop into anything at all, if it isn’t a lie, makes for some good storytelling awaiting us in the next few episodes. They might have hugged it out in the end, but the actual hard truths remain to be revealed.

The other major plot, which has in large part grown because of  7×10, is the firm’s situation and the question of what name will carry it on. In order to do right by Jessica in at least one aspect of her existence within the firm (Mike used to be a fraud, remember?), Harvey and Louis have to figure out a way to buy her out. But of course, that comes with the risk of having all the partners which left at the start of 6A stopping by to demand the same, and with that, the firm becoming a sinking ship.

In order to get out of the jam, Louis figures out a way to restructure the firm, but since he had already done that once before, they are in need of another signatory this time around. Gordon, Schmidt and Van Dyke, all enemies of Jessica and everyone who still resides within the walls which were once theirs, do not make for an ideal crowd to choose from. But none the less, having to try, they choose Stanely Gordon, whom has not been asked in the past.

While Louis takes on the role of postponing the ethics committee from disbarring Jessica, so that they can pay her out, Harvey goes on a hunt for that signature they so desperately need. However, it comes as no surprise, that Stanely hates Jessica. He hates her so much, that despite Harvey’s successful attempt at getting his name on a building of a non-profit (yikes), he still refuses to help – because karma is a b*tch, and so is Jessica – he justifies. Have I mentioned that we hate him now? 

Because the other name partner failed to get Jessica’s disbarment announcement postponed, he comes up with another plan – which is to have himself and Harvey write up an announcement that makes Stanley Gordon’s mouth water, destroies the image Jessica has built for herself through hard work, and get the goddamn signature they so desperately needed. The up side? Jessica can get payed out in the few tens of hours they have left before she is no longer a lawyer in NY. The down side? Everything that announcement, which Stanley of course went for, states. 

As acknowledged by Harvey (who once again, had to do a stupid thing, to fix a stupid thing he did before…), she is now carrying the mistakes and burden, which he created in the wake of hiring a fraud. Did Jessica know something like this might happen when she took one for Mike and helped him become a legitimate lawyer? Did she sign off on them publicly destroying her image? Yes. Did she deserve any of this? No. There might have been some hard truths, which hopefully hit Harvey, in the wake of this unfortunate situation. But at the same time, the firm as we know it, is going down with another, final lie.

And as we slowly come to the point where Pearson Specter Litt, rids itself of the first surname (and we cry), we are coming to an end of another storyline on the show. While Mike was initially given his case as a thank you from Alex Williams, for everything he did with the prison reform case in 7A, it becomes apparent throughout the episode, that it did not only serve as a distraction from the Jessica mess (since he is literally half the reason why it even happened in the first place, alongside Harvey), but also became a catalyst for where his and Rachel’s storyline, for now, appears to be moving in the future.

While the trucking company his client is suing, appears to simply have been affected by some bad luck, he feels like there is more to the story of why so much of the client’s product gets ruined. Initially, Rachel points out to him, that he might be over reacting, because not every case has more to it “than meets the eye”, but she later on returns to the reasons behind his suspiciousness, and figures out a whole chain of events, which actually lead to the damage the company has been doing to their client. It is very much staged, and very much not due to an unfortunate chain of events (as Mike says – act of god my ass).

Not only does this one episode case add some well missed humor, between Alex and Mike, as well as Mike and Rachel (Missy Ditler and also, Mike has photographic memory, why don’t we get scenes of him recalling random stuff like contents of a refrigerator more often?), but it, in addition, opens up a space for Mike and Rachel to realize they love working together. While they decide to focus on their relationship more through planning a wedding, rather than putting in work hours side by side, it still feels like they hit upon a realization there, which they will return to, as we prepare to say goodbye to them in just a few episodes time. The hard truth number three.

While this storyline provided us with a start of something new, we also reached a sad resolution with the firm’s future, and a very confusing one, with the future of Harvey and Donna’s … whatever they want to call it. One thing is for sure though, while many truths were spilled, even more questions were brought up, promising for an exciting journey awaiting us in the next few episodes. Because, if they can’t finally answer these hard questions, then what the hell are they doing?

What do you think, did Donna lie? And what will lead to Mike and Rachel’s move?

Suits returns this Wednesday, at 9/8c on USA Network.