Suits (S08E06) “Cats, Ballet, Harvey Specter”


That’s what friends do…

Friendships are diverse, and sometimes they happen over night, other times we have to work on them to establish the bond we all desire to have. In the world of Suits, and specifically this episode, friendship goes from second chances to realizing that just isn’t all you want with someone, making us think about what it really means to have a friend or be one.

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Am I your first friend?

The season started with Katrina facing a hard task, which she felt like she had to fulfill in order to become worthy of being senior partner. That is, firing the least productive associates within the firm. However, after having done so, and developing a liking for Brian – whom she initially planned to fire, she was also given the responsibility of managing him as her associate. That was supposed to prove she has all the qualities required for the title and finally move forward as the youngest senior partner in the firm history.

However, in this episode, Louis informed her that there was one more case she had to win in order to secure herself the title. It came down to the already existing senior partners all getting a vote, and Paul Porter (the new Norma, the man, the myth, the legend), was of course the one to be leaning towards voting for someone else. Thus, winning this case would ensure her to get enough votes.

The specifics of the case ended up really being just the background noise (at least to me lol), when Katrina asked Brian to join her on the case. She reasoned that she needs to be at her best on this case, and as Donna said – he makes the people around him work to their fullest potential.

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Through working together, we got to see the two get even closer (after already having the “best friend” banter in 8×03) and even though some of us already noticed the low-key romantic potential present previously, it now ended up escalating real quick. And as someone who is used to waiting literal seasons for ship-validation (I am not bitter, what), it was over Katrina getting sauce all over her face and therefore Brian removing it, that the romantic vibe reached its peak so far (and I screamed, oh my god). What added to the “What now?” and really reassured anyone watching that they indeed slipped in to questionable territory for two people thinking only the platonic aspect of their relationship is developing and deepening, is the fact that Donna saw the scene unveil in front of her. She choose not to interrupt and it wasn’t until later that she intervened and voiced the concerns all of us did have or should be having, regarding this development.

Her asking Katrina about her intentions with him resulted in the soon-to-be senior partner denying that she would ever attempt to go “there” with a married man who to top it all off, also has baby. But as Donna countered – the heart doesn’t always listen to what the brain says (and doesn’t she know hehe). Following her words (and how amazing was that scene, I love Amanda and Sarah acting together), we could see Katrina actively trying to suppress whatever thoughts and desire she clearly did have towards Brian, by taking a step back and aiming to prove herself she was capable of choosing brain over heart.

One of the best parts of this episode, thus became the scene that clearly portrayed her inner battle. She was talking to him about the case and its importance for her career, and even though Brian was immediately on board to repeat the previous work session – order take out and stay up working most of the night, it was when the topic of his wife came up, that Katrina changed her tune. It was clear that Donna’s words replayed in her head and she ended up telling Brian he shouldn’t message his wife about staying late, but rather go home and spend time with his family (oh the pain on her faceeeee, how could this end well…?).

Following that, she got another punch in the gut, when he ended up telling her what a great night he spent with his wife and promising her to bring  the movie they love… ouch. But, the question of boundaries came up again, when he suggested lunch and Katrina voiced her thoughts (literally) saying that they can do that, because they are friends.

“Am I your first friend?” he joked, and no Brian, you are not her first friend, but you might just be her big heartbreak, if this doesn’t drastically change direction soon.

And I mean, what are the options? On the one hand, the show could explore what this means for her as a character, in case Brian simply remains her object of thought, rather than is written to become an equal. On the other hand, if the show does start to dig into him potentially having those feelings…. what a mess. But if we put what the brain says aside… my heart did feel it… and long term, this could be one of those complicated but great love OR friendship stories. COULD.

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Second chances

Talking about friends… that was the least of the word one would use to describe the way Samantha and Donna’s relationship started forming in the beginning of 8A. However, it was within the same episode that Donna realized, despite whatever personal feelings she had towards Samantha, she was an asset to the team and should be valued as such.

But, throughout this episode, we get to see (AND ENJOY) them trying to further develop their relationship and explore whether there was potential for a friendship there (one that I desperately want, because Donna deserves a good new friend, and Samantha needs some Donna in her life).

To sum the initial idea up, Donna wanted to do another pro-bono, this time helping a charity for at risk girls (<3), at which one of her close friends Peggie worked. Because Alex was busy, he told Samantha about it (since they don’t hate each other anymore, remember?), and wanting to make amends with Donna and try being on the same footing, she got her clients to donate a large amount of money for the cause the charity organization was representing.

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That got Donna to assign the case over to her, well, that and the fact that Samantha came to the gala they were throwing and show actual interest in what the organization does to help young girls. And about that gala… I have two thoughts: firstly, why is Donna Paulsen an actual goddess (petition to have Harvey see her all done up and make a comment at some point before I die, thank you) and secondly, why is Samantha Wheeler so gay (“Miss Wheeler, are you flirting with me?” “What if I was?” well, you are, the end)?

However, despite them clearly having a great moment at the event, it was literally the next morning, that they started seeing things differently again. Samantha was going over the client files, and realized that instead of the usual 5% charities spend on organizing such galas, there were addition 0.3% being spent by this one. And naturally, as anyone would, Donna thought it was simply an error that could be explained away, trusting her friend. But, Samantha had an eye for such things, and even though she promised Donna not to do anything rash, until she has a chance to ask Peggie about it, Samantha ended up asking the client just the right questions to come to a conclusion the charity is clearly re-directing the funds for own selfish reasons, instead of actually giving the donations they receive fully to the girls that rely on them.

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However, because that led her to withdraw the money she got the clients to give, Peggie, responsible for securing the donation, ended up being fired and blamed Donna for the awful outcome.

Needless to say, not knowing why Samantha did what she did, and couldn’t even follow up on her promise of not doing anything before Donna gets to speak with her friend, she felt betrayed and completely devastated, for feeling like she was in part the reason for Peggie being fired. This resulted in them spilling some hard truths to each other – while Samantha blamed Donna for never trusting her intentions are justified, Donna told her she can’t  do so when she is incapable of ever telling the full story. With tears in her eyes, Donna left, claiming that this only proved her that her initial judgement of Samantha was right (once again from the top: Give Sarah Rafferty awards).

However, thankfully, things turned for the better when Alex – who was on a low radar but still involved in this plot through the episode – made Donna realized she was too close to this case and that’s why she lashed out, knowing that Samantha was right to intervene (basically, Alex did the job of usually a female character on this show, either Gretchen or Donna, navigating other people’s storyline from the sideline… refreshing).

This resulted in the two soon-to-be-besties sharing a beautiful moment, where Samantha admitted the reason Donna couldn’t trust her is because she is always so reluctant to share anything about herself. And the truth here being, she cared deeply about the cause this charity claims to represent, and thus, couldn’t stand by and just wait for this to resolve itself. And that, in the end, lead them to finally start exploring the space the other could fill on a more personal level within their lives at this firm. Donna, being empathic, is a people lover and always willing to give, while on the other hand Samantha, as said in the ep doesn’t trust “people…?” “Yeah, pretty much”. They are two such different functioning individuals when it comes to close relationships and sharing their feelings. But like Samantha admitted, this episode started something that could result in her finally opening up to someone about herself, and the past she has been hinting at throughout 8a. And really, isn’t that also what so many great friendships are about? Not just aspects of yourself you can find in the other person, but also aspects you lack in that they can enrichen you with. I am 10/10 sold on this brotp and the chemistry between the two actresses.

But as the cherry on top, they also ended up finding the perfect solution for the charity, in order to give Peggie the place she deserved and ensure the girls won’t be robbed of their funds again. The COO ended up being an old, white, rich man (shocking), whom Samantha and Donna told the only way he can get out of this clean, and without them blowing on the dirty way he operates his business, is to step down and re-assign his position to…. Peggie. Perfect, I know. And as Donna said, he pissed off two women who know exactly what he did to the underprivileged girls, and also have the way to prove it. And really, is there anything better than than watching two powerful minds bonding over bringing down such… garbage? I don’t think so.

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Everyone leaves

In the previous episode, Harvey left Boston where he was trying to deal with his family hopeful, having done everything he could to help his brother and Katie navigate through their marriage falling apart. However, his attempts didn’t result in them opting against divorce, as Marcus informed Harvey at the beginning of 8×06.

And as Donna warned him, this brought up a lot of sh*t for Harvey, the idea of another part of his family falling apart, making him act out. And so he did… When Louis informed him that one of Harvey’s most special clients, Mckernon Motors – which he had given to Louis and Mike as the ultimate gesture of trust – was potentially leaving the firm too. And to top it all off, while Louis was trying to build his life with Sheila, Harvey got stuck helping out Joan Walsh on a case, which should have been Louis’ priority.

A social media star with millions of followers was claiming that Joan’s company produced a concealer which caused her to break out. And the claim was of course streamed to all of her followers, negatively impacting the business. Because Joan was convinced what she was saying were simply lies and the teen’s way of getting a heavy money settlement, and Harvey has really just not been having a good day, he had absolutely 0% patients for whatever the girl was trying to get across. So he took the case over from Louis, which led them to… fight, yeah.

While Louis was having trouble understanding why Harvey was suddenly lashing out so much, he was willing to give it another chance in couples therapy. He got the idea from literally being so obsessed with Harvey that when Lipschitz pointed out they are in a complicated relationship, he just couldn’t resist the urge… the real endgame of the show lol. And as expected, Harvey thought the idea was absurd, for many obvious reasons, the main being the fact that he didn’t even seem ready to admit to himself that he needs help, Louis or not.

Thus, it was Harvey opening up to Donna afterwards – about his brother and the devastating outcome of his Boston trip, that had her point out the fact, letting him know that even if he doesn’t want to go to therapy with the name partner, he should go alone and deal with himself.

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And that brings us back to season 7. Remember how cured Harvey was, right? He even told his ex-.therapist whose name shall not be said, that he “fixed up with his mom, he got his associate back, he is managing partner” and his life is clearly all around improved and he is ready to commit. The timing of his declaration was very specific, because it happened right after the most important person in his life (read: Donna) told him their relationship wasn’t “enough” anymore and she wanted more out of her career. As any rational being would, many people who understand Harvey’s character started pointing out the intriguing timing of Harvey going after a woman even the showrunner labeled as someone Harvey sees as “Donna without the complications of dating HER”, but upon his ex-therapist completely ignoring the fact that his feelings towards her could be misdirected and he was really just screaming for help, we were told to believe Harvey was fixed… and that was that.

Now fast forward to this episode, after his couples therapy session with Louis went sour, with Harvey being pressed about him having a personal life and a baby, that being something he himself definitely doesn’t relate to… Lipschitz pointed out to Harvey that if Louis agreed, he would be more than willing to work with him through whatever was clearly affecting him deeply. And to my surprise, Harvey did end up agreeing right away, which makes it clear one more time that not only he has been needing more help, but that on some level, he has also been aware of the fact.

It feels like he has reached that stage of being completely tired of feeling scared and worthless in all his close relationships, which also led him to start opening up in his first session alone. The main points him and Lipschitz reached were the fact that Harvey’s issue isn’t really Louis’ having a baby, and when it comes down to it – isn’t even just Louis. He is still afraid of people leaving. Because even though he might have claimed to the certain someone through season 7 that he is “cured”, his abandonment issues are soo deeply rooted and affecting his everyday life, that he still leaves in fear of people walking out on him for the next best thing. For Jessica, that was Chicago. For Mike and Rachel, Seattle. For his sister in law, divorce. And for Louis, the family he was building. In the end, Harvey thinks he is quite literally only worthy to people, until they find what they really want and replace him with the fact.

Which brings us back to two things. First being that ever since his scream for help in s7, I have been wishing to see Lipschitz helping Harvey, so seeing them interact in such an amazing and productive way, really gave me hope for the future -as a Harvey fan, and as someone who really wants him to open up to the idea of having more out of his personal life, even if it means having to risk it with the person you are most afraid of leaving you (guess who I am talking about here). And the second being what Gabriel Macht has already said about Harvey – he is deeply insecure in his relationships, for which he overcompensates with superficial confidence. While that has always been his issue and one of the main reasons he has been reluctant to really be vulnerable with most people, working with Lipschitz who already immensely helped him in just 25 minutes, could finally get him to understand his own behavior and truly develop as a character. So basically everything season 7 wasn’t.

But for now, his initial session resulted in Harvey making amends with Louis. That scene was pure comedy goal, and definitely the peak of their relationship so far. Harvey shared with Louis the reason he was so defensive with him, and Louis… was probably the happiest man on Earth. The episode thus ended with Harvey messing up Louis’ Dictaphone – because he was taking him out to dinner, and planned to say “a lot of nice things” to him, that he really didn’t want recorded. I said it before, and I will say it again – not many people do comedy as well as Rick Hoffman and Gabriel Macht do comedy together. Brothers from another mother, like Louis said… plenty of times.

And while this episode gave us new friendships developing, old friendships flourishing, and some toeing that line of what it means to be “just friends”, we can move on into the last few episodes of the half season full of hope. Even though the firm has changed so much, and suffered many great losses, it feels like the remaining bonds within the firm are becoming stronger than ever.

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Source: Courtesy of USA Network/SpoilerTV

Random thoughts:

  • a social media famous teen claiming concealer caused her anguish, since when are the cases on this show entertaining again
  • Louis telling Lipschitz “Then I got really mad, then I got really sad… Then I called you. Now fix it.” That relationship, a summary.
  • Have I mentioned how much I love Ray Proscia’s acting? Make him a regular, these people have more than enough issues for him to be there forever.
  • Alex and Donna fake flirting while she is getting ready for the gala, not the right man Aaron Korsh, not the right man.
  • Also…again… how beautiful are Sarah Rafferty and Katherine Heigl, I cannot
  • Season 7: Harvey claiming he is ok with Donna leaving and Paula being turned on by him being fixed. Season 8: Donna continuously point out he isn’t okay and needs help. WE been knew, after all, she does know him better than anyone 😉
  • “We are in a relationship and it isn’t working.” “Then break up with me”, in which we all know who is Louis and who is Harvey
  • It took Lipchitz all of half a minute to already ask Harvey if he’d want babies, THIS MAN !!!!
  • “Because they leave. Everyone leaves. Mike, Rachel, Jessica, my sister  in law… Everyone.” Two words: Gabriel. Macht. He will never not make me cry with his soft vulnerable Harvey.
  • “I was afraid…” “Of losing me? Which is why you pushed me away? Oh my god, you pulled a Litt Harvey. You became me” I wish I wasn’t laughing, why is Louis so pure?
  • And to finish of, Harvey saying “Fear of losing you makes a man do crazy things.” we been knew Harvey, we been knew. You losing someone did make you do crazy things before. Khm. My hopefulness is alive.
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Source: Courtesy of USA Network/SpoilerTV