Suits (S08E03) “Promises, Promises”

“When it comes to taking care of people we love, pride has no place”

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While the first two episodes set the grounds for practically the whole show to continue developing, 8×03 started to go deeper into what appear to be the main plots of this half season. Like the creator Aaron Korsh stated after the premiere, 8A won’t revolve around having strong enemies attacking the firm from the outside, but rather following the newly established dynamics: Katrina’s growing role in the firm, Samantha and Alex’s and thus – Zane and Harvey’s conflict, as well as how the main three find their ways again, after the departure of their friends.

Having each other’s back

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Some of the most touching parts of this episode, that gave it a real Suits feel to it, were those focusing on the underlying family dynamics. Ironically, they did so through the new developing friendship between the associate Brian and senior partner to-be Katrina.
Because Louis had promised her to make her senior partner, if she returns back to the firm, she now had to prove she is worthy of being the youngest one the firm ever had to Zane as well. He decided she has to show the ability to manage people, since she has already shown she is otherwise a worthy attorney of the title. And so, she has to manage Brian and bring him onto the current case she is handling. This presents an interesting challenge, because the season started with Katrina struggling to find reasons not to fire her new mentee. However, in this episode, the tables have turned, as Brian finds out that she is struggling with an ongoing migraine (throw back to when TV Line said 8a has “pregnancy, twist.” and that led me to spontaneously combust for a second thinking Katrina is pregnant – and that is why she  has been behaving differently). She used to have them when she was a child, and, according to her – they have now just returned as the consequence of having fired so many associates the previous week. The reason Brian even finds out in the first place is because she misses a meeting with the client they were representing, resulting in him trying to handle it not well prepared. As expected, that backfired and Louis found out. But… that is where it gets complicated (and kinda touching).

Because Katrina was up for that big promotion, Brian lies, or rather, forgets to mention the truth to Louis (when he has one of those yelling fits… yeah, the bad ones with the red face and everything). He apologizes for messing up the meeting and takes the blame for Katrina, assuming Louis and Robert wouldn’t be so understanding of her struggle. This was a rather interesting shifting dynamic already, considering the previous episodes. But as this one progressed, Brian and Katrina had to ensure not to lose the case in court – in order to keep the, needless to say, very dissatisfied client. This led them to open up a bit to each other, and acknowledge that they had come a long way in a short amount of time. Some highlights: Brian pointing out that Katrina is smiling in front of him. Katrina talking about her childhood study buddy and best friend. Brian laughing about the fact that they went from enemies to… besties, apparently? (Good content. Heart-warming content. We love one brotp.)

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And so, Katrina, as a good and trusting mentor, let Brian represent the client in court alone next morning, in order for him to get a second chance at proving that he is indeed a good lawyer. That was followed by her opening up to Louis about the truth. Brian wasn’t the only reason the client almost dropped them, it was her health issues. Which she understood as a fatal flaw, when it comes to her promotion. But, what Louis saw beyond the fact that she showed some vulnerability, was her honesty, mentorship and the fact that after everything – she still prepared Brian well enough to win. Thus, we present to you Katrina Bennet, the youngest senior partner at Zane Specter Litt (so deserving).

…and not having it.

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On the other hand, the heist for a promotion continued NOT to run smoothly for Alex and Samantha. While Alex decided to impress Robert by bringing in a new addition to the firm, this addition also happened to be Samantha’s ex-client (lol). That already led to conflict in the previous episode, but that ended with Samantha warning Alex that the guy is shady and given his problematic past – he should stay away from signing him on as a client. But, Alex couldn’t bring himself to listen to her, and continued his fight for name partner. The client in the middle of this –a typical profile of a white, rich, corporate man further developed into a man who supposedly had  a touching story regarding his father’s love for a piece of art that his ex-wife has now quite literally taken hostage of. It was Alex’s job to get that painting back (not the “get the painting back” storyline I’d want, Darvey fans will understand.) – and then, the CEO would sign Zane Specter Litt as their new attorneys. However, while Alex was working his side of the case, Samantha had already tried to one up the game, by singing on a company that would directly conflict with Alex’s client-to-be interests and result in them dropping the firm. The company was Delta airlines, therefore, huge in profits and in line with what she cares about – which is the firm’s objectively good interests. However, soon Louis shows up in the picture (so we know it will be anything but objective from that point on).

Alex had come to him and told him that he was slowly losing the fight to Samantha – because he took his advice and tried to prove himself to Robert with a new client. And because they are family, and family help each other (even if it hurts the firm and quite literally doesn’t do the business any good to drop Delta airlines), Louis sides with Alex and promises to have the “it girl” cave in. This leads us to the introductory encounter of Louis and Samantha… which was extra to say the least. If anyone remembers Katherine Heigl saying her character could be a female Louis, this was the time to see why she did say so. They have some back and forth, high key angry flirt – all in the attempt to throw each other off. It’s awkward, it makes you want to hide, and so very… Louis. That results in Samantha turning him “into a puddle” (I’m still weirded out, help) but not before actually promising him to drop the client. He owes her one now.

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But it doesn’t end there, because even though Samantha might not be loved by the rest of Zane Specter Litt, and she might not seem like a team player at first glance – she is right. When Alex brings the CEO his beloved painting back, it turns out that that whole sobb story was a lie (shocking.. not). He already had it put in print that he is now represented by the firm, and not even a minute after Alex delivers that piece of art, has him asking to launder money for him. Also known as, do something shady. Just like Samantha warned him.
… But that doesn’t stop Alex from attacking her and saying she should have warned him more, and try forcing her to help him get out of this mess – because they are on the same team. Yeah… whatever. It still feels like we are only just getting to know who Alex is as a character, even though he has been here a while, so it can be hard to care about the consequences the request could have upon him – when we barely know his character beyond the superficial level.

However, Samantha decides to offer some help by saying that while family matters to him, it doesn’t to that guy. And that leads Alex to get himself out of the jam effectively. It turns out, the client had a niece who was a trustee for his finances, and would actually have to take the fall for his illegal activities. Upon learning the truth about her uncle, she is more than willing to have Alex become the new trustee on the fund. Thus, he has the rights to call the shots for his finances and opts for… the very best, legal option possible. The CEO is pissed, but in a rather impossible situation to argue with… his new trustee, and his new attorney. Moral of the story, for a guy who always finds new ways to get himself into messes, Alex also turned out to be good at getting himself out of one. And we have a new substantial thing we know about this character.Before the episode ends, he goes to talk to Samantha – which results in him learning something new as well. She tells him that she doesn’t want him second guessing all her motives and thinking she is always trying to get ahead. Because she isn’t. Since she already is way ahead. See, Zane will make her the next name partner. Uh oh… Alex didn’t know that…  and now they have something in common.

Promises, promises indeed

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And finally, the person who is going to have to take the punches for not telling Alex his promise might be an empty one – Harvey. Even though the past two episodes touched upon his grief because of Mike leaving, this instalment was the one to dive a bit deeper. It was after he briefly ran into Mrs. Ana – a cleaning lady at the firm toilet, who was crying and whom he tried to talk to (WE LOVE CARING HARVEY), that his sub consciousness caught up with him, and he started acting out because he misses his friend. This woman was working for their landlord David Fox (the sexist asshole from 7×14), as the cleaning lady, but because she was given a tittle of a manager, she wasn’t paid for over hours anymore. Which was in reality a total scam and a way to get her to do the same job for less money. But, her mother was now in need of a life-saving surgery, and if these hours she worked were paid for, as they should be, she would be able to save her. Harvey of course understood that, but at first opted out of helping her because he knew they couldn’t risk getting into a fight with the guy who owned their offices…
… however, some harmless casually one on one conversation doesn’t count, right? In fact, Mrs. Ana pointed out that in the harsh reality of this world, Harvey talking to the man would maybe even have some effect, as opposed to her trying to fight for herself. But even so, the conversation already started out tense – by the guy pointing out they (read: Donna and Rachel’s genius minds) had already played him once (Harvey: “Donna has a way of getting what she wants” “Donna kicked your ass” we love one proud husband) but it only went worse when, as expected, the landlord showed zero interest for what was happening to the woman and her mother. The words David used being “Maid with a manager title, sounds like a way to get her empowered” (Have I mentioned we hate him?).

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So, in his state of missing his protégé who would find a way to fight this case, like Harvey said, he decided to take it on. Fast forward to repair guys telling Donna the toilets won’t work anymore until they want them to or Harvey Specter fixes them himself (I laughed) and the lack of working elevators almost killing Zane and his weak health.. Harvey was stopped soon enough, not only by Zane and Louis, but also Donna – all reminding him that picking a fight, as a corporate law firm, with their big shot landlord, was not a good idea. Especially not for one person. It is a hard pill to swallow, but it is one Harvey didn’t use to have to deal with until now. But despite the attempt to fix her up at the legal clinic and get out of this in one piece (and with working offices), he wasn’t able to let go of this idea of helping her himself. Not until Donna pointed out to him that he couldn’t even talk to anyone at the clinic because none of them were Mike. But he could call him and ask for advice…

So he did, at least it looked like he did, by having the clinic file a class action law suit for all the people who have been wronged by giving meaningless promotions and titles by Fox’s firm – thus underpaid. That way, no matter what the landlord does to Zane Specter Litt, nothing would change the fact that the clinic is suing them. But before Donna went over there to explain all that to him (and God was that satisfying)  Harvey explained to her that he didn’t really call Mike… but he thought of this on his own. He just had to think – What would Mike do? (sobs). Harvey thought he wouldn’t call Mike for a solution, but rather do so when he has “a story with a happy ending” to share. Meaningful. And a beautiful thing to say in Donna’s presence.

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The situation thus resolved seemingly in Harvey’s (and most importantly the woman’s) favor, because of course, Donna had the guy agree with her and drop whatever game he was playing, plus pay the lady what she needed for her mother’s medical bills. However, a new potential conflict was introduced when she promised him that Harvey will personally represent him for a year, for free. Surely, Harvey had given her permission to use whatever weapon she had at her disposal to end this fight, but he didn’t know what that would end up entailing.

And as the title of the episode said: promises, promises. Some were made, other broken, but what this episode did do more than anything, is add in some new storyline opportunities that will most probably develop through the whole 7A. From the fact that now Alex knows Harvey’s promise to him, was also Zane’s promise to Samantha, to the already mentioned lawyer, becoming the right hand man in handling all of landlords cases himself. There will clearly be no need for a common outside threat, the family will test itself enough.

Random thoughts:

  • Robert to Harvey “You have got plenty of friends to have drinks with, most of them prettier than me”. There is just one and her name is Donna.
  • Zane is here for scenes of taking pills for a hangover and almost dying when walking up 5 flights of stairs. Powerful
  • The iconic moment: Donna looking at the papers Harvey showed her, and being impressed until…

“Mike is a smart guy”

– I didn’t call him.

“Now that you mentioned it, I do see a bunch of flaws.”

  • Three words: Harvey and Donna. Furthermore, Harvey and Donna’s smiles when they are messing with each other. Why aren’t they married…? And more so, his 100% complete awareness and trust in her smarts is beautiful.
  • I am here for more Brian and Katrina.
  • Even though Donna rejecting David Fox before he could even ask her out was glorious, one thing still holds: Give Donna Paulsen more screen time and storylines 2018 (2017… 2016….. 2015…).
  • Harvey Specter is a good, good man.

And on that note, Suits returns for 8×04 next Wednesday, at 9/8c on USA Network.

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