The Political Wife
“She told the truth, that is all she can do. That’s all any of us can do.”
And indeed, the 8thepisode of ‘Pearson’ was all about truth: coming to terms with it, running away from it and in certain cases owning up to it. But before we get into all of that, I want to congratulate the creators of the show – from the writers to Gina Torres and her relentless fight to have real women represented on TV. As a result, both major plots of this episode were there to highlight different stories of the female characters and their relationships with each other. Though a constant fight for many years, it is often still a rarity to see a season that conceptually focused on a female character to begin with, branch out and hold to its end, showing the complexities of not just Jessica Pearson, but also all other fascinating women on the show. Thank you.
LA and Chicago. The two major plots of the episode spanning across the country also meant two very different undertones. To begin with the city of angels, this was supposed to be business (**romantic) get-away for Keri and Bobby. As the mayor, Novak had scheduled events and a speech to make in LA, but when Patt McGann steered his plans away to the other side of the country, Keri was left alone to fly to Los Angeles and give the speech – it being an event about health care and dedicated to the cause both Novak and his wife Stephanie who has MS are passionate about. As previous episodes already showed, Stephanie was becoming increasingly suspicious of the two coworkers’ real relationship, and thus, in an unpredictable twist, she invites herself along with Keri to deliver her husband’s speech. I remember one thing that caught my attention during the promotion for ‘Pearson’ was that Gina Torres talked about an interesting dynamic between the two women. So far, I have been very conflicted about Keri’s relationship with Bobby, but simultaneously also intrigued as to how this was going to come crashing down, considering what Gina had teased. It did not disappoint. Even though the two women started their trip somewhat weary of each other, it became clear really soon that beyond just being Bobby’s wife and … girlfriend, they are two strong minded individuals who stand by their choices. Though called out on what this affair says about who she is (and sort of speaking to some of the reservations I had as a viewer as well), Keri stood by her choice, and rather, questioned Stephanie on her motives. At the end of the day, they have both stood by Bobby, knowing that he wasn’t giving his all to either, and yet willingly chose to continue doing so. While the plot could have stopped there and presented us with a rather stereotypical “political wife and mistress resentment”, the show once again didn’t shy away from making it into something more. In one of my absolute favorite scenes so far, the morning after their confrontation, Keri could see a new side to Stephanie, and by implication also Bobby, when Stephanie struggled to get ready for her speech. Keri stood by her side (literally and figuratively), as the two women had an actual real conversation with each other. As it turns out, because of the uniqueness of their situation, there are things they could say to each other that they could say to no one else. This is where the complexity comes in. Though by the end of the episode, Stephani couldn’t break her silence on the disease, a distasteful request by Bobby, she did break down her wall with Keri. The two women, expecting to be able to cut the tension between them with a knife until one exploded, actually found themselves in a situation neither could have predicted… liking each other. As Stephanie said, it is all about choice and they have to continue making theirs. And if someone’s asking me, I choose these two over Bobby any day.
… and Chicago. While Jolie has known for a few episodes that her mother was being held in a detention center by ICE, he only told Jessica now. And if you have followed Jessica throughout Suits (or even if you haven’t, I think the show has done a great job establishing how nuanced she is), it came as no surprise to you that she was ready to get in the ring and fight for her own. But beyond showing that helping people when it matters is really where Jessica is meant to be in this stage of her life, the plot shed light on arguably one of the most relevant topics in the US at the moment: the immigration crisis. The fact that upon calling Louis at her old firm (and truly what an absolute joy that scene was), there was no legal representation to be found due to the awareness of how unlikely it is to ensure safety and the ability to stay for those who are undocumented spoke volume. But of course, that didn’t stop Jessica from putting up a fight for Jolie. This cause for her, much like Novak’s wife Stephanie latter summarized for a completely different issue, was in fact very very personal. While Jessica’s family wasn’t much of a topic on ‘Suits’, ‘Pearson’ now finally leaned into it, when she told Jolie’s mother about her own roots, Jessica’s mother being Cuban. The biggest power machine around, a badass boss who gets sh#t done, a woman and no she isn’t white and yes, she is a daughter of immigrants. What about it?
By the end of the episode, though not without its own inner conflicts and missteps, Jessica and Derek together ensured that Jolie’s mom has a case to fight in court. Turns out that they are putting their faith in the hard truth. And if there is one thing this show has remained throughout the whole of s1 so far is truthful to the world we live in and real in the representation of characters that we see in ourselves and everywhere around. What do you think, will Jolie’s mother win her case?