Tuesday, September 10, 2013

REVIEW: 'Suits' - 'Bad Faith' is Very Litt-tastic but Dissolution Talks Dominate a Piece-Moving Episode

USA's Suits - Episode 3.09 Bad Faith

Pearson Darby Specter's "divorce" brings trust issues to the forefront. Harvey finds himself battling Scottie once again and Louis convinces Jessica to let him handle the dissolution talks. Meanwhile, Mike asks Rachel to take a big step forward in their relationship.

Season three of Suits had stealthily been building up to the dissolution of the merger and the return of Harvey and Jessica being friends and working together. While its always been very entertaining seeing Harvey and Jessica work as a team to take someone else down, I can't help but feel underwhelmed by this resolution to the main story of the season. The final scene of the episode leaves me much more hopeful for what's to come next but the rest of the hour was heavily about moving the various pieces around before everything changes in next week's summer finale.

The hour featured a lot of maneuvering with both sides trying to come up with ways to get out ahead from the divorce. The best Suits plots are typically the ones with a clear cut goal with everyone working towards it as a team - or actively against one another. Here there is perhaps too much of every character trying to do their own thing while everyone is working for the same objective. Harvey and Louis are battling Scottie and Nigel respectively in the dissolution talks. Louis messes up and yet every character figures out the exact same loophole. But they don't talk it out with everyone else. Harvey and Mike go to collect early from Folsom Foods while Louis goes for Tony Gianopoulos' business again. It's the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. And even though everything mostly comes together and works out in the end, was it ultimately worth all the intricate plotting?

Harvey and Scottie are a much better pairing than Louis and Nigel so I'm so glad the show invested much more time with them. There's only so much you can take with the whole Mikado debacle fueling Louis' anger towards Nigel. That was a light-hearted plot to start with and thusly shouldn't carry as much weight as it is forced to here. Harvey and Scottie on the other hand is a dynamic the show has built up in interesting ways over the years. It also helps that they aren't simply cut from the same cloth. She's asking for him to trust her and he's very conflicted and that emotion comes across well because of the dynamic that was been built up between the two. They have had a close, personal relationship and yet Harvey quickly becomes enraged when he believes she double-crossed him. Trust issues are one of Harvey's biggest flaws as is his own sense of what loyalty means. To Harvey, Darby and Stephen operating on bad faith is heinous but when he tries similar tactics it is all good and justifiable. Both Scottie and Donna call him on this and he changes. But that means other factors get a chance to occur and cause more headaches for him.

But the true highlight of the hour was the development in the Louis and Harvey relationship. Both men are very prideful and never want to go to the other for help. Louis has been very resentful because he works just as hard as Harvey but it doesn't equate to the same level of respect from his colleagues. Especially in this season, Harvey and Jessica have been fighting their own battle with Louis off elsewhere. He has no real vengeance against Darby. So, he definitely would be the logical choice to handle the divorce talks with a cool head. The fact that he fails against Nigel hits him so hard. He is forced to examine himself and his place in this firm where Harvey is in charge but doesn't have much respect for him. He needed to win over Tony Gianopoulos' business in order to get back in good faith - but he simply couldn't do it by himself. He needed to become the better man and reach out to ask for help from Harvey. Harvey has a very difficult time trusting people and showing weakness and vulnerability. But when Louis hands him a winning hand, he has to show respect and admiration to Louis. That scene was great and Harvey and Louis teaming up to lock the business down was very rewarding.

While Mike has a great mind, he is still pretty clueless with women. His gesture of asking Rachel to move in with him was romantic and touching. But it was very clear that he would be in the doghouse after bringing her up in his conversation with her father. This forced a separation between the two so they could think about what they want - which led to yet another frivolous development. Apparently, her getting into Columbia a few weeks ago was not the end of her season-long arc of heading to law school. She got accepted to Stanford. I honestly don't see her leaving the show to journey across the country. So this plot - like it has for most of the season - feels strenuous. We know sees not going to leave and yet the show keeps using that as a primary obstacle for the Mike and Rachel relationship. Rachel's legal ambitions are her best defining character trait so I understand why the show felt like these would be the most impactful of hurdles for the couple to climb. It's just counterintuitive at the same time however.

Some more thoughts:
  • It's great that Harvey bought Donna some handbags but he had no reason to blow up at her over her relationship with Stephen.
  • But I did really love Donna's conversations with Mike about Rachel and Harvey about Scottie. An overall good week for Donna even though she wasn't in a whole lot of the episode.
  • When did Katrina basically just become Louis' cheerleader?
  • Like I said before, I like Wendell Pierce and Megan Gallagher as Rachel's parent. But that's all that they've really been this season. Rachel's parents!
  • I think I will like the arc of season three much better after next week's finale. Up until the last moment, it was all a build up to the dissolution. But making the characters face the consequences of their actions earlier in the season feels much more rewarding of the time given to the Ava Hessington murder trial.