Last week’s season 8 premiere set up for what could have potentially become a minefield – trying to make your way through, figure out the catches and come out on top, all that while risking getting blown up. And that’s exactly what 8×02 was all about. Also known as, everyone VS the new guys and everyone VS themselves.
While the conflict between Zane and Harvey in the first episode of the season led us to Robert becoming managing partner, Louis was completely left out of that fight. At least beyond being the joke of the day, between the other two name partners. And while that old-insecure self in him, was willing to overlook the hurt he felt, having been left out, it was going to be effort of his loved one and his therapist, to get him to see the truth of his inner battle with his place in the new firm. Thus, through the episode we see Sheila trying to push Louis (quite literally lol) to fight for the managing partner title, in order to make it clear to the other two guys that he is just as much this firm as they are.
Even though one can understand, if not sooner – than after Sheila’s scene with dr. Lipschitz (“You are Sheila!!” – that made me laugh), the fact that she was coming from a good place, the episode fails to adequately present that on her part. What it instead manages to do, at least in my opinion, is continuously portray Sheila as a spineless over-exaggerated character, with very little personality beyond wanting her man to have a title and have sex with him after getting it…? Surely, it does serve the purpose of Louis believing so himself, and confiding in dr. Lipschitz that he doesn’t really want the title, but is rather afraid of Sheila being disappointed in him (10 points to Ray who plays Lipschitz and Rick for ever keeping a straight face while acting out their scenes, truly). However, it really fails to conceal the flaws in the way this female character was written in the previous season – going from being absolutely sure she doesn’t want children, to making a rash decision that she now indeed wants one with Louis. So once again, she acts on an impulse and she pushes and pushes for him to get that promotion, continues talking about that secretary x managing partner role play (at least that fantasy came true for someone khm…) and then pays a visit to his therapist, claiming she doesn’t care for his ethics, because he is draining Louis of his confidence. In the end, she realizes, with a little help of a certain ethical, useful therapist that her worries of Louis not fighting for what he wants were to a certain extent unjustified. On the one hand, she did want him to find his voice and not let the other two partners walk all over him, but on the other, she had pushed him too far and made him doubt that she loved him beyond the amount of power he held and excited her with.
So she goes in to fix her wrongs, and tells all that to Louis, who in exchange realizes she did open his eyes to some hard truths. He has yielded all of his power, willingly, to Harvey and Robert. And he has done so, because his desire to be managing partner has been replaced by his desire for love and this special woman in his life. Thus, having been reassured that he is enough the way he is (I still think this didn’t have to take up a whole goddamn episode), he makes himself clear to his partners and walks out a free-er, happier and certainly more respected man. Add a surprise gift from the two (“We clocked you, Louis” on a clock with his name, I love two comedians) to his much needed relatization, and Louis’ character was led right onto the top of the world in this episode.
…But, of course they also had to add in Sheila, who suddenly said she actually wants to actively try for a baby (I know these two are irrational by nature but my head still hurts), having been touched by the man her partner is… After I had noticed a moment with Lipschitz where he said Louis’ mind is not on managing partner anymore because he is set on something else, and she had replied with “a baby?”, in that tone, It made me wonder if she was subconsciously feeling pressured by it. However, needless to say that any chance of complexity after an already flat potrayal, went out of the window with this “declaration”. If there ever was a good way to have her proceed on with such a decision, this episode was certanily not a good time for it.
Much less of a smooth sail
But Louis was not the only one going through serious conflicts in this episode. From Alex to Harvey and Donna, everyone seems to be putting themselves against the new girl – Samantha. In this episode, she was present in literally 3 out of 4 main battles the characters fought among each other.
First, Alex trying to get on Robert’s side by getting one of her ex clients to sign the firm.
Second, Harvey fighting a case for one of Mike’s old clients… with her.
And third, Donna having to figure out who Samantha is exactly, after their tense first encounter and everything the new partner did after.
While Louis was not trying to find ways to further up his position at the firm, beyond what he had, all Alex wants now is to be up there at the top of the chain with him – and the other two partners. This leads him to his first fully independents storyline on this show, where he decides, upon being challenged by Zane, to bring in a new big client. This way he would finally impress the managing partner, and therefore make it easier for himself to one day get his name on the door. However, even though through he manages to slowly get the big company he was after onto his side, it is no other than Samantha, whom ends up letting him know that the CEO was anything but good to get himself into business with. She even reminds him that as a guy who already has skeletons in his closet (remember 7a?), he should be a lot more careful with that firm.
But of course, why would anyone listen to this smart woman, when you can do the exact opposite and follow through on your original plan to impress the managing partner with a new client you clearly know nothing about? And naturally, Alex does exactly that. We all know that is going to back fire real good. So let’s just wait it out.
On the other hand, even Harvey ends up being more receptible to Samantha’s input. After one of Mike’s old clients – Max, shows up at the firm to say there were 50 million dollars out of 100 unaccounted for in a project within the walls of the company he runs with another partner, Harvey decides to follow in Mike’ steps and puts himself on Max’s side. He starts trying to solve the problem and seeks to find out where the other 50 million are in order to save the guy who came to him for help. But, being a good managing partner, Robert suspects that he might be too emotionally involved and sends Samantha in to try and make sure that doesn’t happen. What comes out of that plan, is the lawyers’ constant battle between two completely different (and kind of entertaining, not gonna lie) methods of work – Samantha wants to act in the interest of their client and therefore the firm (and how much money they make), as they are required to. On the other hand, Harvey wants to find the best possible solution, in order to have Max keep his company and make sure he never pays for whatever sins his partner committed, through the fifty million unaccounted for. This conflict appears interesting especially because usually Harvey was the one who liked to “play the man” and work for his benefit. However, what we can see through this episode, is that this motive was replaced by the care he has for this client, as previously Mike’s, and doing the right thing, “under the letter of the law”. Thus, Samantha becomes what the name partner used to be, and navigates through the case by “having the firm’s best interests at heart”. She doesn’t act in a way he nor anyone else on the show, has never done before, only it appears more effective and questionable, because it acts as the counter step to Harvey being led by his feelings, rather than the most objective, optimal solution for Zane Specter Litt.
In the end, the prior points out to Samantha that without being on Harvey’s side, she will have it hard, while climbing up the latter in this firm. And indeed, she recognizes the truth behind Zane’s words – and figures out a plan that goes both ways. It remains a good solution for the firm, while fixing the mistake she made along the way, through ignoring how Harvey felt about this client, and acting behind his back. Her plan is genious enough for even him to admit so. As such, in the end, Harvey says he doesn’t fully trust her yet, but his face also doesn’t cover itself in hate when Zane mentions her name in front of him. Baby steps.
However, besides this conflict regarding the case, the way her first meeting with the COO goes additionally contributes to Harvey’s hard feelings (*pretends to be shocked*). After introducing herself to Donna, Samantha demands a much higher expenses account, than any other partner at the firm in fact ever had. Of course, being her genius self, Donna is aware of all the numbers for such in other firms as well, and detects that what Samantha is asking of her in unrealistic. The other woman though, doesn’t accept being told “no”, and goes behind her back to get the money she claims she needs from Robert. This leads Donna and Harvey to make a war plan – while Harvey will fight the case with her, Donna will try to look into this woman and objectively deduce whether she is worthy of their trust at all. This fits well with the fact that in the previous episode, we didn’t get to know much about Samantha’s past, since all the stories she told appeared to have conflicted each other. However, throughout this episode, Donna isn’t much luckier. From using all the magical resources she has, to going to Gretchen (the way that encounter was edited!!!! the vibe was so fitting for the scene, it made it even more entertaining than it already was written to be), no information on Samantha checks out fully. In the end, it is Katrina who helps Donna and Gretchen out (the three magical women in the file room, we have now forgotten all about Mike and Rachel’s 2×16 encounter, this is now the most iconic scene from that room because I said so), by telling them what she thinks of Samantha from working near her. And let’s summarize: she is fierce, she fights hard and no one can ever be sure they aren’t about to lose when she is around. But, she can also be an asset to the firm, when she sees fit. And that’s where we leave it off, with Donna taking it upon herself and Harvey to figure out how much of that holds.
Even though this episode clearly made some promises for better times (if you can refer to Sheila’s pregnancy as such… lol) there are still sacrifices to be made and conflict to be dealt with – Alex and Samantha both want the same thing, while only one of them can get it. On the other hand, Samantha wants to be part of the team, but the others have only just started warming up to the idea of having her around, for now.
How about you? What do you guys think about the new partner?
The show returns for 8×03 next Wednesday, at 9/8c on USA Network.
- Harvey shaming Samantha by saying “so all we have to do is commit fraud to get out of fraud” as if that’s not all this boy had been doing for the first… 6 seasons of the show?
- I love it when Donna pulls out all the facts and numbers at people and continues being so so good at her job
- My new ship are Robert Zane and the coffee machine
- “Sometimes it’s best to keep friends close and the new senior partner we know nothing about even closer”, another Mean Girls movie is finally happening and it’s called Harvey and Donna.
- How many lives were saved by Sarah Rafferty acting out “Should we have a secret handshake or something?” and Gretchen rejecting Donna?
- “I am not here for a session I am here for an erection” that’s what Harvey said
- Harvey lashing out at Samantha for mentioning Donna and Donna telling Samantha Harvey IS the firm. Who will bet me that a “wow you two should be together” realization from Samantha is coming LOL.
- Samantha asking Harvey if he wants her to hold his hand, NAH GIRL, he got Donna for that.
- The last two scenes together: Louis and Sheila trying for a baby, VS Harvey going home alone to drink, after seeing Donna. My cue to leave because I am sad. The end.