Wednesday, February 8, 2017

REVIEW: 'Suits' - Harvey Helps Rachel While Mike Struggles as a Mentor in 'Teeth, Nose, Teeth'

USA's Suits - Episode 6.13 "Teeth, Nose, Teeth"

Rachel receives a letter that creates an unexpected issue for Harvey and Louis. Mike's mentorship of Oliver and Marissa gets put to the test. Donna gets a surprise from the IT department.

The first ten episodes of the sixth season of Suits had a strong hook to them. The show was trying to get Mike out of prison early. Sure, it was frustrating for those in the audience who believed he deserved to be punished for his crime. But it was a story the show was committed to telling and the audience had to get on board with that. That's what made it such a victory when he was released. But now, the final six episodes of the season so far have been a little aimless. They haven't had as much purpose as the previous portion of the season. "She's Gone" was mostly about the firm reacting to Jessica's departure while "The Painting" focused on Harvey fixing his family issues. And now, "Teeth, Nose, Teeth" spends a lot of time talking about the ethics board for the bar. It seems like this is the episode that sets up the purpose for these final episodes of the season. It all makes sense in the end too. It's just a struggle getting to that point because it's a lot of characters going back and forth on decisions but never seeming to make a ton of actual progress that is compelling to watch.

So, it seems like Harvey is trying to get Mike accepted into the bar. That would make him a legitimate lawyer. It's something he tried to do a few episodes ago but that only renewed Anita Gibbs anger towards the two of them. Plus, it drove a wedge between Harvey and Mike. Of course, their relationship is quickly mended in the opening minutes of this hour. Mike shows up at Harvey's apartment. They apologize and drink together. Then, Mike drops the news that he and Rachel are moving forward with the wedding and Harvey's apartment will be the venue. That seems like another potential plot thread of focus this season. But the wedding planning just occurs in the first moments of this episode. The rest of the time focuses on the frustrations that come from trying to get in the bar. It's a struggle that incorporates all of the major characters. But it's also full of shady dealings as well that could easily come back to hurt all of them. Of course, that's nothing new for this show. Mike and Harvey cut a shady deal with Sean Cahill in order to get Mike out of prison. Mike doesn't want to do that again. But by the end of the episode, he's all in because the rush of being a lawyer is just too enticing.

It is fascinating to see Mike work at the legal clinic though. He's now taking on the mentorship role. It's wonderful to watch Mike and Harvey bond and reminisce. Mike never believes he was this bad as a lawyer. And yet, Harvey notes that he has always been annoying and a know-it-all. Mike was able to bond with Oliver and Marissa by being truthful to them. But that doesn't inherently make him a good mentor. That's what he needs to be now too. He wants to make a difference. This is the legal work he wants to be doing because it helps everyday people. But he can't actually appear in court and argue their cases. He has to rely on these associates who don't have the experience to win cases. Mike has the experience and confidence. He's the one fighting for his client and making negotiations outside of the courtroom. He does that because he knows how. He's doing whatever it takes to get this woman as much money as he can get. But the case still goes to court because the money is not enough. Mike can't help in there. Sure, it's frustrating watching the action go back-and-forth on who will be first chair in this case. It's just not that exciting because these are brand new characters. Will it be Oliver despite his nervous energy? Will it be Marissa who is still just a student? Or will it be Nathan who runs the place but wants to have a life for once? That mystery isn't that great. But it serves as a key motivation for Mike in the end.

Harvey came to Mike with the idea of getting him in front of the ethical review board to get him in the bar. It was a suggestion that Mike didn't want to accept because it meant they would have to do yet another possibly criminal act. Plus, it could easily get back to Anita Gibbs and make Mike suffer all over again. This plan could go wrong in so many ways. And yet, it's a path the show is now committing too. It wants Mike to be a lawyer. He's really good at it. It doesn't completely explain how Mike will be able to do this considering he went to jail for pretending to be a lawyer. But that doesn't really matter right now. It's just important that Mike, Harvey and Rachel are all on the same page once more. Of course, it's doubtful that Mike will want to return to the firm if he becomes a lawyer again. He wants to work in the clinic. He wants to practice law so he can help these people. Right now, he's useless because he can't speak up in court. Oliver and Marissa are worth mentoring but they are still too naive to do much good. So, Mike wants to free himself from these restrictions.

This plot gets set into motion in the first place because Rachel gets a letter saying she won't be getting an interview for the bar at all. After so much talk about presenting her case to these people, that's a major surprise. When Harvey and Louis investigate, it reveals that a member of the board just wants to use them to get payback on a company that stole a product from him. It's an ethnics board and he's asking them to do something illegal. So, that's very scandalous. But more importantly, it shows how well Harvey and Louis can work as co-managing partners of the firm. For so much of the series, they have been presented as working against each other. But now, they are working together because it's the best thing to do for Rachel. They both admit when the other is simply better at something. That shows a lot of growth and maturity from both of them. It's important to recognize that. This new relationship could be great for both of them. It's because of that they are able to figure out what this guy on the board truly wants. That provides the leverage Harvey needs to potentially help Mike become a real lawyer. Again, it's a complicated story that could go wrong any number of ways. But at least, it's a solid piece of direction for the show to explore in the next episodes of the season. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Teeth, Nose, Teeth" was written by Kyle Long and directed by Silver Tree.
  • The beginning of Louis and Tara's relationship was so bad that it still defines their bond. And now, it's just suppose to be a loving dynamic the audience has to accept. That's still difficult to do - especially when it's noted that they still don't know each other very well but they're planning on raising a baby together.
  • Louis also brings Harvey up to speed on his complicated love life. He actually reaches out to him for advice on what to do. The father of Tara's baby wants to be at the sonogram. Louis has to accept that this baby will have as much love as possible. But of course, that leads to a blowup when the dad doesn't show up which forces a fight between Louis and Tara. But again, it's not something worth worrying about either because they are magically fine again by the end of the episode.
  • Harvey and Louis purposefully keep the truth about the interview from Rachel. They say it was just a clerical error. It had nothing to do with Mike. It still doesn't. But it's much more important that they are open and honest with her and Mike before they do anything stupid or illegal on their behalf.
  • Donna and Benjamin have a story together now. That is just so odd and random. They are partnering on an assistance machine that captures Donna's essence. It's a weird story because the things Donna and Benjamin do are creepy but are played as innocent or sweet. Donna makes everything sexual when Benjamin shows up to upgrade her computer. Meanwhile, Benjamin has been secretly recording her without her permission. Neither of those things is okay. But again, it's not something the audience should be stressed about.
  • Of course, it's great that Rachel makes Donna see the failings of the machine named after her. It's good for a witty line or a sassy comeback. But when it comes to empathy, nothing beats the real Donna. She's there for her friends. Of course, Donna and Benjamin trying to give the machine that quality just seems too ridiculous to take seriously.