Following Donna Paulsen’s advice from the closing moments of the SUITS 6.5 premiere, “The Painting” follows Harvey Specter as he attempts to form some kind of relationship with his estranged mother, Lily. In what is easily the series’ best hour to date, viewers will finally get another chance to see Harvey get a chance to battle some of his demons — something that was essentially abandoned after the therapy sessions from season five were dropped in favor of Mike Ross’ court case. Harvey and Lily’s story is not easy to watch unfold, especially given that some of the most painful moments from the past are brought back to life through the always-powerful SUITS flashbacks; but it certainly promises to move the series’ most complex character forward and provide some great entertainment value along the way. Beyond that, without giving away too much detail, here’s what we can tell you about SUITS 6.12:
Mike Ross puts on his big boy pants. Mike may be back to something that looks more akin to his original SUITS wardrobe and method of transportation — and he may even be looking at something even lower than his original, drug-slinging salary — but Harvey’s surrogate kid brother finally learns something about how to be an adult in “The Painting.” Let’s go ahead and go on the record to beg for him to retain this lesson in that super brain of his.
Harvey Specter like you’ve never seen him before. I’ve gushed over Harvey’s character development time and again, but “The Painting” is in a world of its own. If you thought that watching this character grow over five seasons (plus eleven episodes) of SUITS was a thing of beauty, wait until you watch his emotional journey in SUITS 6.12. Every bit of previous growth will seem trivial by the end of this hour. But remember: Harvey needed every misstep and every moment of being a “self-absorbed, childish man” leading up to this trip in order to have any chance, whatsoever, at actually making amends. And as far as pacing goes, despite packing so much work into so (relatively) little time, the story just works. Again, the foundation was laid over the past six years of our leading man’s life.
Bonus: Just like I said as an extra thought in my recap for “She’s Gone,” someone needs to protect Harvey Specter. Please. While they’re at it, I’d like for them to protect me from the emotional fallout.
Gabriel Macht kills it. There are no words for how good Macht is in this episode. None. So, I’ll say this: Pick an emotion, any emotion. He’ll make you feel it right along with Harvey — and then some.
Relationship watch. Aside from the main focal point of SUITS 6.12, which is very obviously Harvey’s attempt to rebuild a relationship with his biological family, there are some interesting developments within his work family, too. As far as business goes, Louis Litt will have to get past the verbal lashing he received from Harvey in “She’s Gone,” and it will be done in a way that is both satisfying and maturing for both characters.
Outside of the firm, Mike and Rachel share a handful of domestic moments; and for once, Rachel comes across as his equal, not the supportive girlfriend™.
That, of course, leaves Harvey and Donna for last. Symbolism is everything. We’ll leave it at that.
Make sure to tune in to SUITS on Wednesday, February 1 at 10/9c on USA Network.