Wednesday, July 16, 2014

REVIEW: 'Suits' - Mike & Harvey Go to Dinner, Donna & Louis Star in a Play & Rachel Over-Exerts Herself in 'Pound of Flesh'

USA's Suits - Episode 4.05 "Pound of Flesh"

Things are getting uncomfortably close between Rachel and Logan, and the stress at work, school and home threatens to derail her. Louis helps Donna prepare for the role of a lifetime and she helps him face a lifelong fear. Harvey and Mike agree to a temporary ceasefire, but Sean Cahill turns up the heat when he accuses them of collusion.

Suits has always primarily been about the Harvey and Mike relationship. They are friends cut from the same cloth. It's their easy rapport that has always made the show so fascinating to watch. And yet, this season has challenged that notion by putting them on separate sides of a corporate takeover. In the long term, it may be great for character growth. It did allow for a great moment of introspection by Harvey as he now recognizes his regret with how everything has gone down. However, it has largely played as the two keep doing horrible things to the other in order to better their prospects in the deal. They both attribute it to what they needed to do as businessman. Because they both recognize that detail in this hour, it works slightly better than it has all season long. They both are aware of how mean and hurtful they have been. They still yearn to be friends but this battle has made things so messy. If it weren't for that steak dinner sit-down, all would have been lost with this story. That moment was the show remembering just how strong the bond is between these two men. In that sequence, they are friends again and not enemies.

But then, things painfully come crashing back into reality as Sean Cahill crashes that dinner and accuses both of them of collusion over the Gillis deal. Perception is becoming a huge factor this season. Every person's actions are being monitored by outside agencies. So everyone has to be extra cautious. That makes this story so much more complicated.

Moreover, I really enjoyed "Pound of Flesh" because it made two stories about the struggles of its female characters. I still don't completely buy Rachel's desire for Logan. However, I'm enjoying seeing how the physical demands of all of this work is weighing down on her. We've never seen her at school but we are assured that she is going and getting work there as well. That plus everything going on with Harvey, Mike and Logan is a lot to handle. Not everyone is gonna be sympathetic to her situation. It just takes one trip to the hospital for people to recognize how overworked she's getting. Even when she's released, she wants to go back to work. She has a job to do and she's grateful to the firm for paying for her law school. She doesn't want to let them down although it is getting much more difficult to keep that level of commitment up.

And then, there is the hour's strangest and yet most effective plot as Donna and Louis co-star in a local play. It's been a recent development that Donna had a desire to be an actress. However, it's a compelling complexity to that character. We know her as the assistant who is everywhere and knows everything. To see her unsure of herself is a great way to remind us that she too is human. She's confident so much of the time that when we get these moments of vulnerability it's magnetic. Her relationship with Louis has always been so rewarding. So, to see them help each other in such a simple story is wonderful character bonding and development. These two are great together and bring out the best in one another. Yes, it was a little awkward when Donna's story all of a sudden became all about Louis in the middle of it. But it was worth it just so she could deliver that epic speech behind the curtains and Mike and Harvey to make fun of it during their dinner. The cherry on top was having Harvey be interested in Donna's life as well at the very end. She does so much for him and sometimes it does play like him being unaware of other people's lives. He is supportive of her. This isn't just a Donna and Louis side story for the week. It's one of characters being great friends who support each other.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Pound of Flesh" was written by Daniel Arkin and directed by Christopher Misiano.
  • I loved Cahill's Franklin and Bash joke. You just know the show has been waiting to use that one for awhile now.
  • The reveal that Rachel was in the hospital was such a weak way to lead into a commercial break. I never feared for her life. I always figured she just fainted from working too hard and not getting enough sleep.
  • Because Mike and Harvey took the week off of doing dick moves, it was Jessica who was forced to do one. I find it a little hard to believe that Harvey didn't inform her why he postponed the auction. But it was just set up for the brutal reveal in front of Mike.
  • This week in character's remembering events from past episodes: Mike and Louis go mudding.