Tuesday, July 16, 2013

'Suits' Premiere Review - 3.01 The Arrangement

        On the season premiere of USA's Suits, Jessica's new partnership is tested; Harvey must prove a high-profile client's innocence; and Mike tries to manage the fallout from his revelation to Rachel.

        Suits' second season proved that it is the best series currently on USA despite having the absolute worst main premise. The first season had its ups and downs because it wanted to explicitly focus on Mike's struggles of working at Pearson Hardman without a law degree. It's an incredibly flimsy main conceit that unfortunately is a major focus in every premiere and finale the show has produced. The second season marvelously did great work at driving away from this issue by creating the work ensemble of the law firm as the groundwork for the many dramatic stakes. The show grew to be very compelling as we watched Harvey, Mike, Jessica and Louis navigate the legal turmoils of keeping this business afloat while also serving to boast their own egos.
        Unfortunately, with all its great buildup, the second season ended on a very terrible note - with Mike's lack of a law degree once again being given too much weight. So understandable, the third season premiere has a lot of wheel-spinning to do to make up for how it left off its characters. Overall, the hour does a reasonable good job of this while simultaneous setting up the serial arc for the summer run of episodes.
        Harvey's increasingly rigid personal ethics have always been called into question. But it wasn't until the end of the second season that he pushed that code in a way that alienated him from the rest of the characters. It was a strong character foundation when these characters were all fighting a common enemy. But now, they are turning against each other and Harvey's issues will either take him down, the firm down or take the whole show down around him. That fine line is walked pretty well in the premiere even though it could very easily fall either way very soon - which is both exciting and maddening at the same time. The show has repositioned itself as a tale of Harvey's quest for power - even though he had been many opportunities to be made Jessica's equal. His ego and his sense of loyalty are his two biggest defining characteristics. Even though he has crippled his relationship with Jessica - despite her many attempts to make peace - his attempts to stage a coup on her make for one entertaining serial arc. It's a well staged chess match that puts these characters we've come to understand over two years against each other. The show isn't giving us a certain character to particularly root for either and that's what will make this game much more exciting - as anything could theoretically happen.
        But with all the premiere does right, it gets a couple things majorly wrong. The most upsetting of which being the complete backpedaling of Rachel's character development in season two. Last year she became a well-defined character with her own goals and ambitions. Her desire to getting into Harvard Law School added depth to her. Now, she has returned to her season one self and is only allowed to be the romantic interest of Mike and an extension of his issues. Him telling her about his true identity was a buzz-worthy moment at the conclusion of last season. Here it is just brushed off as easily as it has always been. Rachel reacts to the news in the same way as Jessica did and the same way that Harvey did. They all couldn't care less and yet the show constantly wants to hold it over Mike's head for the sake of dramatic stakes. He is a con man who is still able to get everything he wants - namely the girl - without much consequences. Sure, he has slowly evolved into a mini-Harvey but now that man wants nothing to do with him because he went against his idea of loyalty. Mike has a different sense of loyalty as he still is working at Pearson Darby but he is definitely on the outlier of things - much like how his story felt in this hour.