Suits (S09E08) “Prisoner’s Dilemma”

Pick Your Battles

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Source: Courtesy of USA Network

And so we reach that moment in the season where everything changes. Going into this episode, I thought this would open up the can of worms that would mark the business side of the last two installments, but boy was I wrong. 9×08 gave Harvey one last fight with his work priorities of winning aligned, before everything he ever thought or believed would be crushed by the news he receives at the end of the episode.
But lets go step by step. Much in line with theme of this episode’s re-writing the past and facing your enemies, was Louis’, Samantha’s and Katrina’s fight for Esther. While I am not quite sure why the writer thought this would be a fitting plot for one of the last episodes of the show, I did appreciate its substance. Whenever a law show picks up the plot of representing a victim of assault, especially in this current climate, I am inclined to get really nervous because there is so much that can just simply go… wrong. But I am happy to say, after watching this episode with my eyes half closed and cautiously waiting for something to go wrong, the way he writers handled this was nothing if not gracious, to the point and freaking satisfying.

Power

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Source: Courtesy of USA Network

Esther had approached Louis to help her get out of a merger with another company, because as it turns out, Esther’s old mentor, a man who had assaulted her on a trip when she was his mentee, was involved. A gut wrenching and very real situation, one in which starting from the first conversation on, the show managed to point to the most important facets. One, who listens to the victim? While that fact was very clear to Esther, and she rightfully felt as though she had way too much to lose by coming forward, it of course was not to Louis. As expected, and kinda obnoxious at this point, no offense, Louis blew the meeting with her old mentor, which ended with Esther’s board wanting her gone, for risking this merger.
While Esther felt betrayed and hurt, Louis went onto to try and fix this situation by seeking help from Samantha. As per usual, when the females on this show step together, my favorite part of this plot was seeing Samantha and Katrina work together, and give their all in the fight for another woman’s dignity and rights. The two ended up doing everything in their power to ensure Esther would get to keep what was rightfully hers, but also stop her mentor from being able to do this to anyone else ever again. Which leads to fact two, the evidence, unsurprisingly, showed that he had proceeded to do what he did to Esther to many other women, and as a privileged white man, he had been protected by his staff, the law and some money on top, from ever breaking a sweat in the aftermath. But, *satisfying gring*, he had never gone against Katrina and Samantha before. The two found all the proof needed to be able to pretty much destroy him, but in the end, fell one testimony short of exposing his abusive behavior to the world. And this is where Esther comes in. Her conversation with Katrina was truly everything. The latter told her that, fact three, any woman coming forward never comes with any guarantees, and from her own experience as prosecutor, there was nothing she could promise in return for her giving everything up. But speaking her truth, and using her voice, even if it doesn’t bring her a win in court, it could bring her peace. A luxury not everyone is able to base their decisions upon, indeed. In the end, Esther realized that no mater how much she tries to protect herself, her family and her work from the truth, that past she has to live with will change. But times have, fact three. If there was ever a satisfying scene to watch on this show… the scene where Esther finally confronted her old mentor and got him to back off was exactly that. While the most significant and poetic way for this to end maybe would have been for Esther to take that public stand and speak her truth, the way the show executed it was real and, most importantly, it was on her own terms. It is true that times have changed, but here is hoping they change enough to allow every other woman that faced this horror to do it on her own terms too. Till then, thank you Suits for going there, and doing this oh so gracefully.

Winning

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Source: Courtesy of USA Network

But back to re-writing the past and facing your enemies… Malik seemed to have finally found a bone big enough to put Harvey into the ground – one in form of apparent evidence of conspiracy between Sean Cahill and Harvey in getting Mike out of prison in exchange for putting Sutter in. Truth? Absolutely. Which is exactly why in this episode, you could actually see both Sean and Harvey sweat. They were clearly realizing that, regardless of how they felt about their past actions (“all the lines I have crossed, I would do it again” and all), what Malik had on them was nothing but the truth. The tension between them was reasonable, and while Harvey’s unwavering loyalty did not come as a surprise, Sean’s change of heart and momentary panic did. Kevin Miller had apparently signed an affidavit stating that what Malik had against Harvey and Sean was essentially true. And what a punch, Kevin. However, the show was quick to mend any of your broken hearts as to the state of this season 6 holy trinity (LOL), because as it turned out – Kevin did sign the affidavit to save himself and his wife from prison, but he excluded any evidence he had that could help Malik actually effectively use his testimony. Still our guy… kinda.
And what is more, Donna, because she is a genius, figured out where Malik has been feeding of on information, and the exact place was the white-collar prison Sutter himself was sharing with Forstman. Talk about a Harvey hate club. While Harvey and Sean first though that Sutter’s confession was a death bed one, and therefore Forstman’s informing to Malik had been admissible, they figured out that this was not the case. Sutter died of a heart attack, and if there is anything we know about those, it is that they usually come as a surprise and you don’t see it coming (… ouch, the truth… and in this episode of all episodes, stop hurting me). Thus, Sutter couldn’t have made a death bed confession if he didn’t know his bed was a death one. As it turns out, Forstman took a while to piece the puzzle of Sutter’s situation together and arrive at the conclusion that Harvey and Sean must have been behind it. Then cue in Malik and the whole freaking mess we are in right now (seriously commend me for even getting his far in the review). Lucky for Harvey and Sean, all of the communications between Forstman and Malik pointed to the truth that there had been no death bed confession and therefore, not only was all that evidence inadmissible, but Malik’s eagerness to puth Harvey into the ground was really really far beyond what was legally permissible for him to do as the district attorney. And again, Harvey and Sean 893495, the world 0.

Beyond this point, the heaviness and the technicalities of this plot became kind of a lot for my 9pm brain (here is one thing I wont miss about the show), so lets move onto the most important part: what Harvey got out of it and the implications that has for the remaining two episodes. The fact that the plot consisted of Faye going LITERALLY against Harvey and acting as the attorney of a guy who would ultimately be persuaded by her to turn on him, has solidified the fact that her role in the firm was never meant to be one of a proper special master. They had her act under the disguise of “morality”, as Donna put it (What a scene!!!) only to take the first chance she had to put Harvey into the ground. Her intentions are now out there clearer than ever, and though I would have prefer some more unpredictable outcome where maybe they all end up liking and respecting each other, this promises that the one last fight coming in the show’s final two instalments will be an in-house one. To my shock, and no doubt shock of others who thought that this week’s episode would only begin the fight against Malik, this episode conversely tied the loose ends and put Forstman and Malik, arguably some of Harvey’s biggest opponents on the show, into the ground. What this means is that whatever “one last con” Harvey and Mike will undertake in 9×09 and 9×10, is now probably against Faye, who committed the ultimate act of betray this week, by voluntarily assisting in the quest to put Harvey to prison, only a matter of days after his own choice making saved her family from falling apart. Yikes. Now we really do want her out. The firm vs Faye.

Loss

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Source: Courtesy of USA Network

The other important aspect of this plot came following the resolution, in the form of that goddamn 40 seconds last shocking and absolutely key scene of the episode, this season, and arguably the show as a whole. While last week, I so foolishly and hastily claimed Harvey and Lily’s future has never been brighter, Aaron Korsh decided to prove me (and everyone else who thought the same) wrong, permanently. Following Louis’ 100th proposal to Sheila, just as Harvey returned back home to tell Donna the good news, the proposal scene received a gut wrenching contrast. Donna uttered the words Harvey only ever heard her say once before, over 10 years ago. His remaining parent, his mom, the family he only just got back in a meaningful way, she is gone.
There aren’t enough words for me to stress just how deeply hurt I feel. Not just because last week ended on such a touching, beautiful note, but also because of the implications this has for Harvey at large. He will never get to make those good new memories with his mom that he so desperately wanted and tried to make. Lily will never be a part of his future life and family in the way I am sure both of them wanted. And while the absolute tragedy of the fact is real, and it is how sometimes life is, I never expected the show to dare give him this trauma and deep sadness as a part of who he is at the moment we will say goodbye from his character forever in two weeks.
It is a devastating fact, not just because Lily has been such a strong presence and a beautiful reminder of how it is never too late (…until it is), but also because two episodes before the end of the show, the writers decided to put the main character in a state of grief, arguably, incomparable to anything he has ever been able or allowed himself to feel before. Last week, he thought he just opened a new chapter of his life with his mom, but as it turns out, they were closing their last. As if the painting was always really meant to be that one good memory. As if Lily knew just how long to hold onto for the both of them.

As a result, Harvey has now entered the emotional territory that he yes, did encounter with his father once before, but was never before equipped to process and deal with as he is now. Plus, he is not just dealing with loss of a parent, he is dealing with the loss of a second chance that he’s spent years working towards. This ought to put things in perspective. In this episode we saw him fight so fully and completely for a job position, out of a place of “no regrets” and complete peace in his soul. And now, he will fight Faye as a man who was just hit with the hard truth that life isn’t long and that work isn’t everything. When his father died, Harvey focused all his energy on becoming a junior partner, in order to protect himself from feeling too much. This time, I feel confident in saying that we are probably about to see Harvey re-evaluate everything he has ever thought and felt he wanted, in face of tragedy that he was not prepared for and the ending of a relationship he thought he was just starting. What does he really want out of life? Does he want to keep fighting battles with no guarantee that there will ever be a last one? Or is it time to step down, breathe and find that… something more.

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Source: Courtesy of USA Network

And on a personal note, there has never been a man who deserved his own family more than Harvey Specter does. And after the gut punch he (and all of us) just received this week, whatever happy ending I expected for him until now, has just tripled in size.

Random Thoughts:
– Harvey telling Forstman “beauty sleep ain’t fixing that”, please I laughed so much
– “She is feeling powerless and ashamed” “but she has the power” “to do what?” the importance of this !!!
– A moment of appreciation for Donna Paulsen who is the most protective wife ever, “you are fighting all of us”
– That moment when they shamed Harvey’s phone when he got arrested… that hurt.
– “Every line I ever crossed I would do it again” is such a significant sentiment at this point !!!
– I have to once again say, the “unlike you Faye, people love him” scene between Donna and Faye was just absolutely amazing. Donna loves and protects Harvey so fiercely, you can literally see the rage she is feeling in her eyes. Give Sarah Emmies.
– “Loyalty is a two-way street”, let’s just cry every time they bring an iconic old quote back. And Also lets cry for the end of Sean and Harvey, one of the most unexpected but super interesting BROTPs on the show!! It has been a blast.
– Sarah and Gabriel’s acting in that last scene !!!!
– I now have a theory the show is giving Louis and Sheila this out-of-nowhere unnecessary wedding to distract from the fact that their ending was supposed to be a baby. The baby spotlight of the finale will be Donna telling Harvey she is pregnant. That is his happy ending. A family. And they will name their child Lily. Call me naïve, but guess what, I am so sad I don’t even care. 3 2 1 lets go.
– I am literally heartbroken.

Suits returns for the penultimate episode next Wednesday at 9/8c on USA Network in the States. In Africa, you can catch Suits at 20pm on TGE.