Wednesday, February 10, 2016

REVIEW: 'Suits' - Anita Goes After Rachel, Mike Visits Scottie & Louis Protects Sheila in 'God's Green Earth'

USA's Suits - Episode 5.13 "God's Green Earth"

With time running out before Mike's case goes to trial, Harvey and Mike are at odds over their strategy, and just what lengths they'll go to in order to defeat Gibbs.

Suits is still very much in rising action mode with Anita Gibbs' case against Mike for fraud. A trial date has been set. But right now, both sides are aggressively manipulating the other in order to get the upper hand in this battle. It's been a lot of build up for this story. That was to be expected. Mike's lie has been at the foundation of the entire series. It has affected everything that has happened across five seasons. The threat that Anita poses needed to have meaningful stakes for the entire show. In order for that to happen, the show needed to take the time to build up this conflict. Everyone at the firm needs to be personally motivated about this case and how it can affect their way-of-life. The show did that with Donna in last week's clunky episode. This week it's Rachel's turn to step into the spotlight. The hour is much clearer about what it's trying to do which makes it much more effective.

In the past two episodes, it seemed as if Rachel was the only one who wanted Mike to turn on Harvey in order to get out of this situation just in order to have that point-of-view present in the narrative. These characters are bound to make some difficult choices in the episodes to come this season. Talking about those issues isn't the same as actually embracing those actions though. "God's Green Earth" is still just a lot of talk about what may happen once the trial actually begins. It can drastically change the future for everyone who knew about Mike's lie and still allowed him to keep working as a lawyer. That's incredibly personal for Rachel. She loves Mike. She doesn't want to betray him in his time of need. But she's very scared about the future. She doesn't have the same confidence that Mike and Harvey have. They still don't have a strategy to battle Anita in court. But they are confident that a solution will present itself as they dig through the massive amount of discovery that Anita has provided.

Right now though, Anita is getting under Rachel's skin. Rachel knew that she wouldn't be able to get out of this situation without needing to come into contact with Anita. And yet, she is totally taken aback once it happens. Even though she knows a fair amount about the law, the personal stake she has in this case keeps her from seeing things as cut-and-dry as she should. Anita presents Rachel with a future where Rachel and Mike can both go to Columbia University and then practice law together for the rest of their lives. Jessica and Harvey would be the ones to pay for this fraud. They are Anita's ultimate targets in this legal battle. Mike is just the stepping stone to get to them. But this is completely destroying Rachel's entire world. She is on rough terms with her father while the dean of Columbia is threatening to expel her for something she didn't even do. The pressure is starting to add up. She's not even sure if she can truly confide in Mike about what she's feeling because he feels so differently than her. She is willing to turn Harvey in if it means a future with Mike. Mike isn't ready to make that choose. Mike was willing to give up the law once for Rachel. That future can still be a possibility for them should they get out of this situation unscathed.

And yet, Scottie has a very astute observation about Mike and Rachel's relationship. She knows just how much Mike loves being a lawyer. When he barged into her office demanding that she help him, all she saw was a younger version of Harvey. She even thought Harvey was behind it too. It's because of their similarities that Harvey is willing to risk everything just in order to protect Mike. He pulled Mike out of nothing. Mike has this life because of Harvey. Mike is the man he is today because of Harvey's teachings. Harvey has been doing some pretty major introspection about himself this season. He's addressing problems that he hasn't been willing to deal with for years. Mike is now caught in this complicated situation. His life has been defined by this lie. He has built this happiness with the firm and Rachel because he has told his lie. Without it, he may not know he is in this world. Scottie knows how far Harvey would be willing to go in order to protect his professional persona. That ultimately destroyed their relationship. He was too caught up in himself to be truly open and genuine with her. He is addressing those problems now though. But similar problems also plague Mike and Rachel's relationship. They know all of these dark truths about each other. But all of that can change depending on the outcome of this trial. If Mike never practices law again, he may resent Rachel for living his dream. If he decides to keep working at the firm, it could destroy their relationship because that's the only thing keeping them together. It's a very precarious situation.

That's what this case is doing on the show right now. It's forcing so much change for the characters that they don't always know how to handle. Mike and Harvey are doing their best to find a decent defense strategy. But they also need to focus on getting Anita to back off of Rachel. No matter what, Rachel shouldn't be kept from being a lawyer just because of this whole mess. Moreover, Mike decides that he wants to represent himself in court. He doesn't have the best criminal experience. But neither does Harvey. He needs to do whatever it takes to prove his innocence despite his guilt. It's a tactic to manipulate the jury to his side. But all of this is pointless if there isn't a firm left to work at. This scandal has affected the firm's standing in the community. No one wants to come anywhere near the place. Jessica is flailing around trying to show that she is still a formidable force to be reckoned with. It's a strategy that works when it comes to motivating Louis to get Sheila not to testify in Mike's case. But she's not so successful in handling Jack - both in her demands to steal a whole department from another firm and his desire to become a name partner. She has the most to lose if all of this goes wrong. She and Louis have put so much love into this firm. It's all at risk of going away simply because of something Harvey did a couple years ago.

Some more thoughts:
  • "God's Green Earth" was written by Genevieve Sparling & Sandra Silverstein and directed by Anton L. Cropper.
  • Mike discovers that Anita knows he used to take the LSAT for people to get into law school. She uses that against Rachel. It's a threat that goes away for now. But it could easily establish a pattern of criminal behavior in Mike during the trial.
  • Scottie is still very furious with Harvey. She never wanted to see him or Mike again but she is forced into this mess by them. And yet, Harvey redeems himself by owning up to his issues that truly destroyed their relationship in the past. It also leaves things open for the two to maybe get back together in the future. They still have plenty of work to do as individuals first though.
  • How has Donna gone all this time without needing to sort through hundreds of discovery boxes for a case? She claims that she has always gotten someone else to do it. But she didn't even do it in her early days working with Harvey? It largely just amounts to Mike telling things to Donna in a very expositional way.
  • However, Donna and Rachel mend fences. They've both faced the personal pressure from Anita. They are both safe for now. But they could easily be forced to make some tough choices in the future. And yet, they both promise to remain friends no matter what happens.
  • At one point, Mike wanted to go against Anita's sister just like she did with Donna and Rachel. He doesn't pursue it but that could be a meaningful tease for the future - or it could just be completely irrelevant.
  • The firm only taking graduates from Harvard has always been a little wonky. It's what led to the complications eventually exposing Mike's lie. But now, Louis has to open the doors to other law schools because no one wants to come to Pearson Spector Litt given all of the scandalous publicity.
  • Donna learns that Anita has found Trevor. That was always a possibility. But now, it's a certainty. He has moved on with his life and remains a big wild card for the trial.