Wednesday, March 2, 2016

REVIEW: 'Suits' - Mike Makes His Decision and Everyone Has to Accept the Consequences in '25th Hour'

USA's Suits - Episode 5.16 "25th Hour"

As Mike's day of reckoning draws near, it threatens to shatter the lives of those closest to him. Faced with the uncertain outcome of his court battle, Mike makes the one play he has left.

Mike's arrest on Suits this season has been a very interesting story across these last six episodes. It's had both good and bad moments. At times, the pacing was a very significant problem. Characters felt like they were going in circular motions while other plot points needed to be rushed. And yet, this whole arc is ultimately a success because the show is unafraid to have Mike and the entire firm deal with the consequences of this action. It's been somewhat hard to know how to feel over the course of these episodes. Should we be cheering for Mike and Harvey to pull one over on Anita Gibbs, the judge and a jury just to keep the status quo as is? Or should we be wanting Mike to be punished for this crime because he's guilty? It was a very precarious situation. One that has a couple of final complications throughout "25th Hour." But ultimately, Mike is being punished which sets up a very interesting future for the show.

Mike's big moment of clarity at the end of the previous episode didn't really work all that well because of how unclear it was regarding what he was about to do. This finale opens with his decision - which makes it somewhat better but not a whole lot. Mike has chosen to take Anita's deal of going to prison for two years in exchange for Harvey, Jessica and Louis being allowed to go free. He's doing it in order to keep them from going to prison. His mind is made up - even though the jury has reached a verdict and it really could go either way. It's something that everyone else has to accept over the course of this episode. It's a tad frustrating watching as everyone is angry and doing their best to overturn this decision.

It is very much like this show to have the characters do whatever it takes in order to manipulate events to their benefit. Successful last ditch efforts have been made before. That's initially what it seems like Harvey is up to. He can't accept Mike choosing this fate. He's angry because of his own guilt over the situation. But he's also upset because he doesn't want Mike to go to jail. He seeks out the jury foreman just to know what the verdict was going to be. The guy is a very smug mechanic. And yet, that doesn't change the fact that Mike proved his case. He was going to be found not guilty. So, Mike created this entire mess that everyone has to deal with the consequences of just in order to protect his family at the firm. Big changes were going to come no matter what the outcome was. That was made abundantly clear over these last few episodes as Jessica and Louis attempted to keep the firm as successful as it was before this scandal.

And yet, there is nothing anyone can do to reverse course on this direction. Mike is going to jail for two years. Anita won't let him off the hook just because Harvey digs up a case from the past that is much more criminal than anything Mike has done during his stint as a lawyer. It's devastating to the characters. But it's also so thrilling for the show. It is blowing up its basic premise. Things are undergoing such a radical change. It understands just how morally complicated this premise has been for the past five seasons. This arc allowed for many faces from the past to return in order to add to the pressure of this case. And now, justice is being served. Mike is willing to make the most of his final three days as a free man with the people he loves. The future is a very uncertain prospect. No one knows what will happen. But these people are family and they are doing their best to stand by family.

That means that Mike and Rachel go back and forth on getting married. This episode is a roller coaster for them as a couple. They spin wildly from emotion to emotion based on the latest piece of news they receive about this case. Rachel is furious that Mike didn't wait to hear the verdict like he promised he would do. They reconcile once Harvey shares that the jury was going to convict him anyway. They want to get married in order to be united as they face such a drastic future. They are at odds with Rachel's parents and whether or not they can convince them to show up at the wedding. It's a lot of plot that happens in this episode. The radical shifts aren't always all that necessary. But it's still deeply rooted in the personal bond between the two characters. They want to make this work despite Mike's upcoming prison time. He made that decision. And now, he has to face the consequences. He wants to marry Rachel but that could seriously jeopardize her future. He doesn't want to take away her dreams and career just for his personal happiness. It's devastating to her when he leaves the ceremony to turn himself in. But it also allows for a future where they might be able to be happy while having everything they've ever dreamt about.

It's equally devastating for Jessica and Louis as they realize that Mike's conviction will destroy the entire firm. Mike really didn't think that part through when he was weighing his options. The firm is family. He took the punishment in order to protect the name partners from prosecution. But that hardly leaves them with a respectable and honorable firm. Robert Zane has found a workaround to the non-compete contracts and uses that to completely destroy the place. When Jessica, Louis and Donna return from the church, the entire firm is empty. It's still theirs. They are still in charge and no longer have this legal matter hanging over their heads. But they are effectively starting over. They need to build this place back up. It's going to be a very arduous journey for them. They are willing to take on the challenge. But it's very daunting. And yet, it's also a very exciting setup for Season 6. The world of Suits has changed. And now, everyone has to adjust to this new world order.

Some more thoughts:
  • "25th Hour" was written by Aaron Korsh and directed by Anton Cropper.
  • Returning faces in this finale include Amanda Schull as Katrina - who impresses Robert Zane by telling him how to poach the partners from Jessica and Louis - and Tricia Helfer as Evan Smith - who Harvey needs for his plan on using Liberty Rail to get Mike out of this mess. Katrina is a nice complication that Louis has to deal with while Evan is much more of a mandatory plot-based appearance that adds nothing to the hour.
  • Mike is also to confide in his priest one last time before going off to jail. It's also sweet that he still wants to get married in the church - even with a small number of guests - just because it's where his parents got married.
  • Mike and Robert haven't agreed on anything in a long time now. And yet, they both ultimately believe that Rachel getting married right now could do a lot of harm to her legal career.
  • In addition to having a much smaller firm, Jessica, Harvey, Donna and Louis will have to deal with the appeals process on every case that Mike tried while he was a lawyer. That's going to be another major hurdle.
  • Harvey spends most of this hour angry at what Mike did and trying to use every maneuver in order to get him out of this. He has to accept what has been done. He does eventually too. That final scene between Mike and Harvey is so powerful. They understand each other so well and trust that they'll be able to survive what's coming for them for the foreseeable future.
  • The show has been renewed for Season 6 already. It could go any number of directions too. It could finally have a massive time jump that shows what it's like having all of these characters far removed from the central lie. Or it could pick things up immediately and show just how complicated Mike's decision really is. With the amount of talk about what it takes to survive in prison, it does seem like the latter option is what the show is going for.