“I am the best there is on a bad day”
Before posting this review, I made some last-minute changes upon finding out the show is going to end with season 9 and this was our last mid-season premiere. Instead of starting this one out by recapping what happened in 8A, I wanted to say I know for most of us, this wasn’t the best day we ever had (quite frankly, I feel heartbroken), but I hope the episode made today a bit better somehow? Harvey’s “best there is on a bad day” now gained a whole new meaning. Thanks for still clicking on this review, I know it’s been a long day.
Let’s dive right in. Quite recently I was watching a dramedy TV show and realized that the premise of one of my favorite character’s comedic installments is for the most part of the existing 5 seasons, based on the same idea and executed in a very consistent way. Surprisingly enough, it’s also done in a way that doesn’t make me roll my eyes, or at some point become “too consistent”. Consistent to the point where it’s… repetitive? Yes. Anyways, this made me think about the contrast of the way comedy is written for this character versus how Louis has been handled for the better part of the past few seasons.
I think it is quite easy to argue that his humor at times, has gotten… repetitive. The problem hasn’t been in the acting (because Rick Hoffman truly is one of the most brilliant actors out there), but in how the comedy has been written for him. There are good ways to write consistency without becoming too repetitive, but I don’t think that has always been the case here. However, as this episode dove into his transition (mental and literal) to becoming managing partner, I felt that I could laugh again at majority of the scenes. From yet another brilliant song choice opening the second half season with his iconic walk into the firm, to his scenes with Harvey (because Gabriel and Rick’s funny scenes are just art), Louis did end up providing with the majority of entertainment in this episode. One I personally didn’t find too ceaseless.
Beyond humor though, his struggles transcended from personal and case-specific, to now facing a question of what kind of a leader (delegate!) I want to be moving forward? The adjectives which came to mind when I imagined him being managing partner were the following: extra, irrational, impulsive… but also very human, understanding and loving. Which in one way or another he all did show at certain points of this episode.
To cover the most important aspects of it (because there were so many plots in this episode and we don’t want to be here all day); Louis wanted to be everywhere at once, but as it turned out, he had to divert his focus from case law and parenting his clients, to being the go-to man his employees need. It took him some time to figure this one out, and more importantly, be on board with it. For Louis, I think the transition was way less painful than I imagined. Despite the fact that there was a moment where it all started crumbling down on him, Donna ended up coming to the rescue and being the usual voice of reason, largely responsible for his smooth-er transition (so far). At the same time, this also led to the very much needed start of a discussion on power dynamics (considering how 8a ended).
Louis tried to deflect from the harsh truth of Donna’s words by telling her he is the boss now, which led to arguably one of the most shocking lines of the episode (lol), where Donna channeled her inner petty Harvey and said: “yeah because I put you there”. Did I get triggered because she used that on another person while she was so hurt by Harvey saying that to her OR did I actually scream and feel satisfaction at the knowledge that she is about 99.9% right? Your guess. But to wrap it up, beyond these hiccups and inevitable shifts in power dynamics, Louis did well in this episode. Though, do we believe this was it for his readjustment in the new role? Not for a second.
Now going back to Donna, while her overseeing the employees and actually using her skill set and knowledge to handle some of the firm’s most important business made me super happy as a viewer, one which is craving to see her do more actual work, don’t you worry, there were other things in this episode that gave way to me being triggered with her scenes. Now if we go back to this hiatus, one of the first insights we got into 8B is the fact that Donna was going to have a love interesting named Thomas. We have also since then learned about his profession and personality – basically that he is “a perfect man” according to creator Aaron Korsh (for direct reference check literally any interview he gave in the last few days lol). Beyond that, there were many speculations before this episode came out as to how Thomas will be introduced. Is Donna already dating him? Or are we going to gradually get to that?
Donna meets Thomas Kessler as the CEO of a high-end furniture company, and one of Louis’ oldest and most cherished clients, after she takes the reins over from Alex in properly handling his business. She is well situated with the background information of his firm, and what I did like in the way they introduce their dynamic is that Donna is shown as super knowledgeable about the business side of things, rather than writers having her charm her way through the issue. The chemistry between the actors is great, but also rather obvious and serves its purpose – there is no ambiguity, as to where their scenes are leading us to in the future. They have a natural banter flow and interact just enough times to establish that they are interested in each other. Donna handles his issue and by the end of the episode, he is calling to ask on a date. The way they write them makes the way the episode unfolds for them 0% surprising and portrays him as such an objectively great man that you simply can’t criticise this right? Except that Donna has 13 years worth of complicated history and we have 8 season worth of back and forth already somewhere else. This one sided portrayal of Thomas, for now, just feels frustrating. Fair to us? No. But back to their last scene, he is gentle but just “pushy enough” in asking so, for her to admit she would go out IF he wasn’t the firm’s client. Now this is where I would usually speculate for a bit, as to what her choice would be… but… this is where I get annoyed with the way this storyline has been handled by the promo team so far.
Yes, I know I have had my fair share of promo shade in my reviews, but in this case, it falls directly into the way the storyline is being received by fans. The episode asks of you, at least by the end of it, to consider whether Donna was going to break her rule for a client – an important detail here being that he is one of the most important clients of the firm. So not only is this about her values and the inner struggle she has been dealing with for the 12 years she has worked besides Harvey, but also the way this will affect the business of a firm she now officially carries on her shoulders. Instead of sparking intrigue and discussion, we can now just sit back and judge her for 1 week, because the promos the show’s team released spoil this for you. We go from her claiming she can’t go out with him because of her principles, to knowing she is going to spend the night with him after their first date, thanks to one of the 8B teasers released WEEKS before 8×11. The in-between, assuming that is the next episode, will maybe potentially explain how she went from point A to point B, but the promos already ruined that intrigue for us, and we are left to wonder (and as I have seen on social media, judge her for making that choice).
Giving the show some benefit of the doubt, I hope we will see the moment in which she decides to go for it with this man, or at least feel pushed enough to say yes (like we did in 7A with Paula triggering her to call Mark). That would make this a lot more sensible and in line with Donna when she isn’t acting rationally. If not, then I’d like to assume this speaks to her “I don’t date men I work with” book of Donna rule being there solely for the purpose of protecting herself from the possibility of Harvey. Interesting. Thoughts?
On the other hand, do you know what this girl really likes? Harvey holding grudges, and more specifically, Harvey doing something about his grudges. No but seriously, when it comes to work stuff, I am a fan. And this episode definitely fed into that. After Malik, not only went after Donna, but got Jessica disbarred (in Donna’s words, son of a b*tch)… quite literally for the sake of making Harvey even more bitter than he already is, Harvey pretty much waited for a case to get back at him. The opportunity presents itself as he finds an article (you expect us to believe he does anything besides look pretty and dream about Donna? I don’t buy this reading newspaper thing) talking about a new case Malik has taken on. In brief, Malik is going after a guy whom has raised suspicions in forging a fake boxing fight to get bidders their money. Harvey loves box and hates Malik probably just as much, which makes this the perfect case. He is also eager to avoid Louis bossing him around as managing partner and getting himself busy with something which requires all his attention feeds into him making the choice to represent the guy Malik is going after.
With the same motives, and also the fact that Jessica was his friend (Lowkey missing the Robert x Jessica dynamic), Robert decides to join the case. This gives them the perfect opportunity to bond (and honestly, their scenes ARE great), but also leaves some of the new power dynamics between the two guys who used to be managing partners and the guy who is to unfold for future episodes. Thus, Robert and Harvey take on the case, and after a lot of back and forth trying to figure out the truth behind the accusations, realize that the ball quite literally is completely in their court.
Malik’s case was based on a bet which was placed on the underdog, a bet of 99k dollars right before the start of the fight. That underdog then ended up winning, which led to a huge check in the bidders’ pockets. The judge found this evidence to be sufficient enough to go to trial. Which was a huge bump in the road for Robert and Harvey who believed the client was innocent and this was a fair fight. To add more to the confusion, Robert realized all the people whom contributed to the last-minute bet had a connection to the man accused of fixing the results. However, put two smart men who know how shady works in a room together, and you end up with them realizing if they are right and boss wasn’t guilty, and the fighter who won also wasn’t… then the loser had something big to gain from letting the other man win. And indeed, they turned out to be right, the revelation hitting Malik square in the face. But not before Louis also got to jump in and offer some last-minute help which led to Malik’s humiliating loss, his public apology for going after the wrong guy who did nothing to skew the fight results and a happy Harvey… if only for a little while. Malik 0, Harvey and Robert 1, Louis 2.
“… the kind of lawyer who tells you to never put me in this position again.”
And speaking of backfiring… In the mid-season finale we saw Katrina impersonate Samantha in order to get proof Alex needed in their game to become name partners. Blablabla, we all remember how we ended up with a 5 name firm. However, not only would Samantha knowing that insinuate Katrina positioned herself on Alex’ side of the battle, but also open Katrina up to criminal liability. And that is exactly what happens through the course of the episode, as Samantha puts the two and two together as to how Alex really won the case.
This gives her leverage over Katrina, which is what the new senior partner was worried about when siding with Alex. Samantha asks of her to quite literally magically make the money, one her client lost because of Alex, appear again. And consequently, pushes her to do something illegal. However, because she is new to this role, breaking the law goes way beyond a one-time thing. It is a matter of values in the sense of her deciding what kind of a lawyer she wants to be moving forward. While initially, she wants to pay the price, she ends up standing up for herself… which gives us the glorious ending Samantha x Katrina scene. Katrina says, instead of doing what she asked of her, she did “what Donna asked” (smart, always smart). Which wasn’t just simply saying no to Samantha and no to starting in her new position by doing something shady, but rather finding a legal way to repay for what she has done… which doesn’t just mean she proved herself to be a by the books lawyer, but also a brilliant one.
Which leads to the last few minutes… this episode had a fitting ending in my opinion. Not only it tied into some of the aspects of the plot you could see coming – which is Katrina confronting Alex about the position he put her in with Samantha and Thomas returning back for a call, but more importantly, addressed the part of the episode which (as I could see on my timeline after the promo with Donna’s “because I put you there” line was released) might have raised some alarms. Surely, she was right, but her comment and how that influenced the dynamic, also wasn’t particularly in character for who most people perceive Donna to be. And that is exactly what the episode ends on. Donna and Louis, as what truly is a co-managing partnership (lol) recognising the new found responsibility they share in the firm’s future… At the end of the day, bad or good one, these people truly are the best there is for each other.
- Donna giving Harvey one last coffee before she starts dating… pain.
- Robert saying Louis’ first idea as managing partner was gender neutral bathrooms is such a relatable thing lol hero
- Alex telling Samantha this must have been a tough ride for her, being “white” and Samantha countering him by saying it must have been hard for him as “man”. Good one.
- I can’t believe Suits used a movie reference I actually understood, shook
- Please never stop writing comedy for Rick Hoffman and Gabriel Macht
- “Did you know there are 12 synonyms for the word incompetent?” “after he signs this there is going to be a thirteenth” “Malik” Robert and Harvey are my queens
- “Tomorrow will be what tomorrow is going to be.” – Quote by Harvey “Life is long” Specter
- “Jessica Pearson SENDS HER REGARDS” !!!!!!!
- “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you” Louis to Donna, everyone to Donna
- Robert telling Harvey he is a lonely ass is honestly what Harvey needs to hear LOL pain
- And more of a complaint than a highlight… When will we actually see the amazing women of the firm out drinking together and not just references to it? I am not satisfied with the continuous teasing. I deserve to see them drunk. Thank you.
Suits returns for 8×12 next Wednesday at 10/9c on USA Network.