Family per square foot
Sometimes awful things that happen to us are useful for simply just one thing – looking around and realizing who will be besides us as we wait for our turmoil to pass… or shake us by the shoulders to make us realize we got to put an end to it ourselves. And that is exactly what 8×04 was all about.
“It won’t go away if you don’t talk about it”
To jump right into it… as seen in the promo released the previous week, this episode went into quite a different territory from what we can usually expect to see on the show. Right at the beginning, Louis was running late for a dinner meeting with one of his oldest clients and Zane, because him and Sheila were trying for a baby. Because that had ended up taking a little … longer than expected, he was hurrying his way through one of the streets, when he was approached by a younger man and forced to the back of the street, having a gun pointed to his back. He was told to give his phone and wallet, and then as if that hadn’t been traumatic enough, left beaten up quite badly, on the floor (protect Louis at all costs mode was on through that whole punching-and-kicking scene).
Any rational human being would react in, like… 2 different ways, either call police or a loved one first. But no, of course Louis had to walk himself over to the firm, and then proceed to tell Gretchen she can under no circumstances let Zane or anyone else know why he missed the meeting tonight. While anyone could point at any one of the 100 reasons why this was a stupid request that would, in result, only complicate the name partner’s life even more, his insecurities and constant desire to prove himself to those he respects prevented Louis from making the right call and speaking the truth. Which of course, led Zane to assume he was simply not having his priorities straight and re-assign the client to Samantha, wanting to teach Louis a lesson about lying and not being present when he is needed.
Note that Samantha was reluctant to take the case on, because she was just starting to integrate into this work family, and didn’t want to end up on Louis’ bad side, but Zane insisted and she ended up agreeing to take over the class action suit they were handling for the client. Fast forward to Louis finding out, he was starting to realize proving himself to Zane was going to be harder than he thought, but with some help of Gretchen (the queen), he managed to find a way to stay on the case. He moved the aforementioned hearing to… now (the next day) and not being prepared enough just yet, Samantha had no other option but to agree on doing this case with him. But not before telling him he is a badass for pulling this one on her (I love her).
The two did get off on a… weird foot to say the least (remember that cringe worthy, all up in each other’s personal space first meeting scene? I can’t forget it either), but appeared to be working well together, their relationship becoming more about the case they share and can do well with each other’s help, than any differences they might have had. That was until Samantha had to leave right before the court hearing started and well… after Louis reassured her a million times that he was going to rock this thing, didn’t we all just know it was going to go to sh*t?
And so it did, when the attorney on the opposite side told him he is “pointing a gun” at his clients’ head and from that point on, all Louis could see in front of him was his attacker. He couldn’t speak after that and needless to say, the motion was dismissed as he stood there, his heart beating out of his chest, and unable to hear or say a thing.
But it wasn’t until Samantha stormed into his office to ask why he couldn’t handle the hearing he was so confident about, that we saw Louis geniuenly reacting to everything that has happened to him for the first time. He snapped, yelled and she walked out with her mouth agape, and the knowledge that something horrible must have gone down. Highlighting another side of Samantha – the following scene showed her being a caring individual, who has clearly paid attention to the office dynamics and realized if there is one person in this place that could get to Louis and make him talk, it was Harvey. So she went to him and told him everything she picked up on in Louis’ demeanor (anyone else laughed when she said “This isn’t normal behavior” all triggered because… what about Louis is normal behavior?) and made Harvey realize that something must have happened to make him act more out of place and irrational than he has in a long time.
Which leads us to one of my favorite parts of this episode. Harvey approached Louis, asking him out to dinner so they could catch up, but when Louis told him he can’t – that is when Harvey was sure something happened (“I ask you to dinner once in a blue moon, and whenever I do, you drop everything”, where is the lie). Little by little, with some persistence, Harvey broke down Louis’ wall, and he ended up telling him the whole story. And after that, Harvey (with that soft voice of his *cries*) said all the right, and obvious, things that Louis had to hear. It wasn’t his fault, talking about it is the only thing to deal with it, and not talking about it doesn’t make it any less true (if only he took his own advice…..). He even promised him to talk to Robert about it, that having been one of Louis’ main concerns.
And what did speaking the truth do? Make all the troubles go away. Shocking, right? In all seriousness, Robert showed up for him, explaining that he was once in a position where he had stolen and regretted it every day since. It wasn’t Louis who was weak, it was the man who made him feel so that was. But even better, so did Samantha. AND SHOW UP SHE DID. By waiting for him in front of his town house, ready to teach him self-defense. So Louis hit her, upon request, and she almost broke his arm and pressed his head into the floor… I love one friendship. So… they stayed outside, laughing and learning (and my heart was so full of love for her 2.0). Because, self-defense isn’t about the act of hurting, it’s about living with the reassuring knowledge that you have done something to protect yourself.
“Sometimes we need to be smacked in line”
And speaking of self-defense. While Louis was dealing with the aftermath of his attack, Alex was feeling more and more like a victim of Zane and Harvey’s game. In order to show him that he was serious about making him next name partner, Harvey had invited him along to a meeting with a potential new client – to impress Zane by signing them on. However, after their CEO Carrie insinuated that it would take some pretty shady moves against a company she was trying to buy, Alex was not on board anymore (because suddenly he is so moral or something…). But upon her request, Harvey saw an opportunity to use the information she gave in the meeting about the other firm to their advantage, and by presenting them with the info, sign on this other company. Despite the fact that his plan was very much … not by the books, it was working well for the two, until Zane used his upper hand and explained that this was his firm to run now, and he wasn’t about to send a message to all their new potential clients that meetings with them lead to being sold out and thrown back into the sea, just to catch another fish. This might have been a good point to make, but Harvey wasn’t having any of it, mostly because he wasn’t willing to give up the power he had left by listening to the managing partner, deal half way done.
However, Alex was not on board. Rather, after having been approached by Zane the next day, and told the only way he will ever make name partner around here was if he will drop the client Harvey didn’t want to, he was ready to quit all of it. That was until Donna gave him some Star Trek – themed advice (because Harvey talks about it so much, I love marrieds…) which basically said: he is backed against two walls, he should find his way out of both of them, without siding with one over the other.
And so Alex did find a third way out of this mess, where he didn’t have to comply to either, all that while making his intentions very clear: he was here to make name partner, along side Zane Specter Litt, only if the prior two will get on with their lives and stop making each others’ so miserable. And they did hear it, loud and clear.
However, what made this plot a whole lot more interesting, was the way Donna was involved in it through the episode, guiding (or like… geniously manipulating) all sides, until they slowly stood on the same one. Firstly, she gave Alex the already mentioned advice in order to back both – Zane and Harvey – against the wall and make them see that they were only hurting themselves by putting him in the middle of their power struggle. Secondly, she had told Harvey that Holly Cromwell was approached by Alex, who was looking to explore the market and see if he could make it as name partner somewhere else – pushing him to realize he was losing one of their best attorneys because of his own problems with Zane.
And thirdly, she pointed out the same to the managing partner, and proceeded onto telling him some very hard truths, that he really did have to hear (the courage and ability to be smartly outspoken this woman has!!!!). He had been doing wrongly by all sides: giving Samantha Louis’ client, pushing Harvey and having Alex choose between them, as well as pilling up work on her that “isn’t what she does”. She went on to say that the problem weren’t even the requests he was making, It was who was making them. Because, her, Harvey and Louis have to be put into their places sometimes, but other times, they have to be left to do what they do. And only someone who tries to be part of the family could know and understand the weight of that.
And after she spoke her truth, Zane… agreed with everything and promised to hire an accounting firm to do the revenue per square foot analysis he forced her to conduct. Because, CLEARLY, she was going to take care of the firm as COO the “old fashioned way” – by keeping the family together first and foremost.
Moreover, to add to her masterplan, it was Harvey at the end of this episode, who figured out and thus revealed, that she had actually asked Holly Cromwell to call Alex. It wasn’t the lawyer himself who reached out to look for another job – all that, the exact opposite of what she had told Robert and Harvey about them slowly losing Alex because of their issues. So Donna explained: “Sometimes people just need to know where they stand. (…) then you and Robert Zane would learn that if you can’t figure your shit out, the only people that are going to get hurt… are you.”
And that was the conclusion of the 4th episode of the season. We all face struggles, but it is how we deal with them and how we treat others when we do so, that determines the outcomes we face… Unless you have Donna to do that “whisperer sh*t” with everybody or Samantha Wheeler, to teach you how to punch reaaaaal good.
- Donna Paulsen taking away Harvey’s food and eating it while walking away from him like a badass she is.
- Speaking of Harvey, his passion for TV and the shade he throws at anyone who can’t appreciate things he likes is so relatable
- The year is 2018 and Harvey and Donna still end their work days by the elevators of the firm instead of going home together. I… sad.
- The little smirk Donna had on her face when Harvey figured out she had been playing them!!!
- Louis: Oh my god. You could kill someone, couldn’t you? Samantha: Probably. But the point is, they couldn’t kill me.
- Robert: I knew you did this whisperer shit to Harvey, but I didn’t think you’d do it to me. Donna: I am gonna let you in on a little secret Zane. I do it to everybody.
- Robert and Donna’s dynamic is TRULY one of the best things on the show right now. I want more and more.
- All the little things: the shot of Donna’s knock on Zane’s door, Samantha’s giggle in the end, the song choice, Harvey’s smile before the elevator closed(…) I adore Michael Smith’s directing. He just knows the show so well.
- And this one goes to Rick Hoffman’s and Katherine Heigl’s acting in this episode. I loved every second of it.
Suits returns for 8×05 next Wednesday, at 9/8c on USA Network.