Wednesday, February 22, 2017

REVIEW: 'Suits' - Harvey, Rachel and Louis Will Do Whatever It Takes to Help Mike in 'Quid Pro Quo'

USA's Suits - Episode 6.15 "Quid Pro Quo"

When Mike's class action hits a snag, it might cost him more than the case. Harvey, Louis and Rachel consider getting their hands dirty. Donna and Benjamin seek an investor.

Last week's episode felt like it reached a natural end point with the ongoing struggle to make Mike a lawyer again. Harvey had found leverage on Craig that could be used against him. So that meant Mike didn't have to drop the stock prize of the company he was suing just to get an appearance in front of the bar association. Craig would do that for him or risk being exposed for insider trading. Mike could then take the settlement money that was already on the table and bring a swift end to this case. There was no longer a need to drag it on looking for an admission of guilt. Of course, that may have been a naive stance to take. This episode complicates the situation further because James Palmer knows what Mike and Harvey are up to and won't take this suit seriously. He believes he can pay very little knowing that they planned to use this to get a fraudulent lawyer in the bar. So, that gives this episode the bulk of its story. It's about how far these characters are willing to go to help Mike - and whether or not he still wants it. It's still frustrating because of the amount of needlessly complicated back and forth on feelings. But it still sets the table for what should be an interesting conclusion to the season.

Rachel made Harvey promise that if this plan were to ever get too risky they would pull out of it. And yet, this hour is filled with nothing but big risks and the only one who seems to have a problem with it is Mike. Everyone is risking their careers for him. He's sticking to his values of putting the needs of his working-class clients above his own. It's noble in a way but could be seen as frustrating too. But again, the back and forth of whether Mike wants to be a lawyer gets less interesting the more it is used. He's excited at first that Harvey has this new leverage. But then, he pulls out of the plan because of what it'll mean for his clients. He resigns himself to never being a lawyer. That's what he tells Rachel and Oliver. He's sad when he tells Rachel and trying to be a good mentor when he tells Oliver. Rachel is able to see past that and know how disappointed he is after getting his hopes up once more. Meanwhile, Oliver is just excited that his opinion actually meant something and is willing to get back to work. Plus, Mike just wants to do what's right by his client even though all of the maneuvering may have cost them a multi-million dollar settlement.

So, it's ultimately up to Rachel and Harvey to convince Mike that he can still become a real lawyer. They are always a fascinating character pairing. It's nice seeing them work together to blackmail a headhunter who helps with corporate espionage. It's newfound confidence that really helps bring the energy up of this whole story. They get the information they need and present it to Mike. That's what motivates him to get back on board. It feels like a victory when Mike and Harvey ambush Palmer with all that they know about his shady business dealings. So, they seemingly get everything they want in the end. Mike gets $200 million for his clients plus a chance to present his case to the bar to become a real lawyer. So everything seems back on track for the season. Of course, going in front of the ethics board is still an unknown. Mike believes he'll be able to handle whatever questions may come. And yet, the show is at its best when it's unpredictable. That's a quality that has been missing in this arc because it felt inevitable that Mike would get to present his case. Now that he can, it should be interesting to see if it works or not.

Elsewhere, Louis feels the need to come clean to Tara about everything he knows about his firm and every illegal action he has done there. It makes sense. The two of them have been getting to know each other better. And yet, it remains a very frustrating story as well. It's a great story when it comes to Rachel giving advice to Louis. She tells him he needs to be the one to tell Tara because that leaves open the possibility for forgiveness. Things didn't work out with Sheila because she found out herself. However, there is a key distinction between the two characters that deserves to be pointed out as well. The audience knew how Sheila was going to react to the news about Mike. She believed in the preservation of Harvard records and respect for the system. With Tara, it's still just one big mystery. She is still just a bland presence in Louis' life. He fell in love with her and she's just been an object of fascination for most of this season. She's just been a sounding board for Louis to come home and talk to. She doesn't really have a distinctive personality. So, that drains a lot of energy out of the fight they ultimately get into at the end of the episode. It's basically a lot of yelling and saying mean things about the other. And yet, it's still hard to care about whether they stay a couple or not. Louis has been committed to being a father. But this still could be too big of an issue for any relationship to handle - outside of Mike and Rachel.

And finally, Donna and Benjamin's story remains this weird oddity also happening on the show at the moment. On one hand, it's fascinating to watch because it paints a more human side to Donna. A version of her that is capable of making mistakes and being wrong. But on the other hand, it's incredibly silly that they've just invented the best personal assistant and are trying to make it a successful business. That could easily take them both away from the show and that just doesn't seem likely - especially with Donna. So instead, the dramatic beats need to come from the personal interactions. It is devastating when Donna hears that she isn't as impressive as she thinks she is. It's great when she's in the meeting and able to analyze the people she's pitching this product to. And yet, they still ultimately see her as just a legal secretary. Her reputation can be great but it's not enough for these guys to get on board. Of course, that makes them seem like jerks who don't deserve this business. Plus, it's odd that Donna ultimately goes back to Stu who may not be able to turn this product into a success. And yet, it's still an interesting story to watch because it's bringing Donna and Benjamin together as friends. That's a completely random friendship but it has really grown as of late.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Quid Pro Quo" was written by Aaron Korsh & Daniel Arkin and directed by Maurice Marable.
  • Donna tells Harvey about the firm losing one of its biggest clients. He immediately recognizes that it's his fault for prioritizing Mike. And yet, he never really does apologize to Louis for not being there. Instead, it's right back to being all about Mike.
  • Of course, Harvey does one smart thing for the firm by backing out of the class action lawsuit after Palmer tells some clients that they should review their legal services. That then becomes a whole thing between Harvey and Mike for a little bit.
  • Even Craig recognizes just how frustrating it is for Mike and Harvey to keep going back and forth on what he has to do for them. First, Mike drops out of his request for the bar. Then, he wants back in. Each time it further risks Craig exposing himself to his colleagues.
  • So was Donna wrong about the two guys she and Benjamin were pitching to? Later on, she learns they took the meeting as a favor to Harvey (even though he barely knows what Donna is up to). But that doesn't mean she's wrong about the power struggle between the two executives.
  • Also, what does everyone else at the firm think about the Donna? It was frustrating to them when it was just good for quips and jokes. But now that it has empathy, they would be the perfect test subjects because they all know Donna so well.