The SUITS season 6 finale was yet another episode in a long line of episodes proving the series is intent on staying stuck in its circular pattern when it comes to Mike Ross. After the world’s briefest stint in prison during the season’s opening episodes, Mike worked a dirty deal to become a free man. Then, rather than exploring the character’s path to redemption, SUITS featured Mike and Harvey getting up to the same old behavior: Do something shady for all the “right” (selfish) reasons. Get your way. Face minimal-to-no consequences. Finally, get your way some more.
In the latest edition of Mike and Harvey’s Monopoly game sans “Go to Jail” card, Mike found himself sitting before the Character and Fitness Committee, pleading his case to get into the bar and become a real boy for the first time. But with Anita Gibbs — the very prosecutor who’d exposed him as a fraud and put him behind bars — sitting on the committee, even the team’s best (dirtiest) tricks were not going to make Mike’s journey quite as easy for him as he would have liked. While revisiting virtually the same story as always, the SUITS finale’s B plot took a supposedly new track. Ostensibly, it focused on Donna Paulsen’s attempt at a change of career, but the results were anything but promising. Check out our SUITS season 6 finale recap to find out where it all went wrong.
She’s not a footnote for us, so let’s talk about Donna. The concept was well-intentioned enough: Give SUITS fan favorite Donna Paulsen, and by extension the amazingly talented Sarah Rafferty, her own storyline. Let her think about what she really wanted out of life and maybe move forward with exactly that. And while no such development would have ever been easy, Donna’s long-awaited chance to shine wasn’t the standalone story that fans ordered.
After already having enough trouble with finding someone to back The Donna, ultimately landing on surrendering a huge portion of any potential profits to Stu (the firm’s former tenant) in order to get the business of the ground, Donna’s next great hurdle came in the form of a problem with patenting. But Donna is nothing if not resourceful and conveniently well-connected, so she tapped Louis Litt to negotiate for her. Somehow, that conversation wound up becoming more about Louis’ relationship troubles than Donna’s business. It was so bad, in fact, that Donna had to interrupt Louis when he started talking about what a great “distraction” Donna’s problem would be from his real issues: “I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but this is incredibly important to me.” Following her essential apology for actually wanting, for once, to do business instead of playing Louis’ matchmaker, Donna also had to remind her friend not to ruin her business by getting too emotional.
…and then the journey to either try to get The Donna within the allowable 30% or make some kind of deal with the competing patent holders became even more about Louis. In order to prevent himself from doing exactly what Donna had been afraid of, he let Donna’s rivals in the personal assistant business shut down his offer of a deal. In fact, they managed to bring him a much less desirable option: a $90 million lawsuit if Donna, Stu, and Benjamin went to market. As if that weren’t bad enough, the next big move in the saga of The Donna was a chance for Gretchen to encourage Louis.
As welcome as any appearance by Gretchen is, did we really need to see Louis beating himself up over how he couldn’t focus enough on Donna’s “dream” because of the state of his relationship with Tara? In the end, The Donna turned out to be a method for keeping “The Donna and Louis Sideshow” a part of SUITS but with enough of a twist on it that Louis was working for Donna this time. Even so, what should have been Donna’s story became inexcusably entangled with Litt’s relationship woes. The insanity even went so far as to have Louis’ moment of doubt get turned into (admittedly beautiful) commentary from Gretchen on how worthy Louis was of being loved.
Just like in the first half of SUITS season 6, Donna was a vehicle for telling Louis’ relationship story; the only difference this time around was that Donna had her own problems, too. “It doesn’t turn off like that, Louis. And from where I’m standing, you’re worth loving.” He is, Gretchen. So are you. Now, let’s stop making Donna’s supposed chance to shine about whether or not a man is lovable, ok? Ok.
Unlike for Mike Ross, success does not land in Donna Paulsen’s lap whenever she demands it. Therefore, despite finally getting to work and coming up with a much better deal for The Donna than a lawsuit, Louis was ultimately unable to deliver the outcome that Donna wanted. Even Stu’s lawyers found the buyout to be a fair one — impressive, even — but Donna wasn’t sure if she could accept. She wanted to actually move forward with the product, to be a part of something more. She craved her own success, not continuing to just be a helper for everyone else around her.
We wanted that, too, Donna. Oh, how we wanted that.
After telling her business partners that she needed time to think, Donna went to the one person she knew she could trust to be straight with her: Harvey Specter. Despite being entangled in his own giant mess (of his own creation, as usual), Harvey took the time to level with Donna. And again, it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. Because there was no way to get The Donna’s overlap with the other company’s patent down to an acceptable number, the buyout was the best deal she could hope for. At this point, things took an absolutely heartbreaking turn, as Donna finally admitted to Harvey that she wanted more out of life: “I want something more, and I’ve never said that out loud. But I can’t pretend that’s not true anymore.”
Or, well. Not really “finally” so much as “for the first time since Donna and Harvey failed to have a real conversation following that whole love admission thing.”
Donna tearfully told Harvey that she was tired of putting her life on hold, but when asked what exactly the “more” was that she wanted, she wasn’t able to answer. Was it a different career? Was it, you know, something to actually happen with the beautiful idiot standing opposite her? Sorry, Suitors: You’re not going to find the answers to those questions any time soon. One might say that Gabriel Macht’s performance indicated that he might be considering doing something about the second option…but it could have just been, you know, more emotional fallout from the mess he was in with Mike.
I guess this is where we switch topics. Unfortunately.
Mike Ross: Real Boy. I’m not sure how to recap this story for the millionth time with any sort of new insight or information; but the SUITS season 6 finale wanted to tell it again. So, here we are.
Anita Gibbs worked her way onto the Character and Fitness Committee just in time for Mike Ross’ hearing. I guess she was supposed to be the villain in all of this, despite the fact that she was doing her job and standing up for the integrity of the law, but that’s none of my business. Regardless, Harvey Specter’s plan to remove Gibbs from the panel was simple: Work some connections, grab the hacker that helped him out with the shady deal that got Mike the hearing in the first place, and find some leverage to hold over Walter Samson’s head. At this point, you might be wondering who Walter Samson is. Well, he was a guy who took some time off and appointed Anita Gibbs as his stand-in.
Cue Harvey going so far out of his way to help Mike that, in an act of desperation, he even physically attacked Mr. Samson. Harvey is very pretty when he’s emotional and frantic…he’s just not always likable when he behaves this poorly. As in, he’s not likable when he behaves this way. At all.
While Harvey was up to Spectering the case, Mike was hiding information from his new boss. Rather than tell Nathan what he was up to, Mike capitalized on his boss’ elation over the large $50,000 settlement against Velocity Data to “earn” himself some time to rest. Oliver, awesome human being that he is, knew something fishy must be happening and confronted Mike about everything from his dishonesty to his delusions. The more Mike Ross talked about wanting to help people after all the evil things he’d done to become a lawyer, the more Oliver just wasn’t having it. You don’t do real good in the world “by being a shady lawyer,” after all.
But this is the story of SUITS. Do all the right things for all the supposedly right reasons, and you’ve done a good thing. You’ll get rewarded. Consequences are meaningless. Growth and accountability are equally worthless. At least, that seems to be the story with Mike Ross.
Rachel Zane was a part of this mess as Mike’s “supportive woman,” this time providing enough background on previous hearings to shoot down some of Gibbs’ less “fair” moves. No, the hearing couldn’t be outright canceled because Mike was convicted of a crime. An attempted murderer once became a lawyer, after all. No, a unanimous decision wasn’t necessary. Oh, and since Anita Gibbs was busy interrupting Mike with facts every time he tried to defend himself, Mike was able to present a character witness.
“Who was Mike Ross’ character witness,” you ask? Julius, the prison counselor. Evidently, he was the only one in a position to prove that Mike left prison a changed man. How that was possible, given Mike had spent all of five minutes in a jail cell and spent most of his time there making spoiled demands, I’ll never know. Julius wasn’t so sure of all of this “I’ve changed” rhetoric either; but after Mike’s bleeding heart monologue, he caved. Julius delivered a beautiful speech in the courtroom (or wherever it was) and even shut down the “evil” Gibbs for having already made up her mind. That, however, wasn’t enough.
So, Harvey tried a different approach. He sought to prove to Gibbs that he’d changed by bringing her Liberty Rail with no strings attached. She took the evidence she needed but said she’d only approve Mike entering the bar if Harvey traded himself for Mike. It was his chance to relive the events of the previous SUITS finale; but this time, he couldn’t be too late.
Oh, the suspense!
As Mike Ross was asked whether anyone at the firm had known he was a fraud, he showed at least a little bit of integrity by not throwing Harvey Specter under the bus. He did, however, still get what he wanted with help from the least likely of places. In the one great surprise of the SUITS season 6 finale, Gina Torres’ Jessica Pearson strutted into the Character and Fitness hearing and owned the room, as the goddess has always done. She told a powerful story about one time that Gibbs was lenient with a criminal, and that criminal went on to become a doctor and save lives. As it turned out, that doctor happened to be a relative of the untouchable — except in the literal sense (Harvey, seriously, no) — Mr. Samson.
After everyone got together back at the firm to await Mike’s verdict (come on, he’s a real boy now — we knew that was going to happen), Jessica Pearson explained to Harvey how to win more flies with honey than vinegar. Well, ok. It was something about taking off someone’s coat by making them warm, rather than ripping it off. As in, she tried to teach him a better way of doing things. Let’s see if he learns this lesson in time for SUITS season 7.
Following the “good” news of Mike’s continued unearned success, Harvey and Jessica embraced. Hearts melted. Everyone lived happily ever after. But wait: There’s more!
Remember how Mike repeatedly told Harvey that they were never, ever, ever getting back together? Surprise! He lied. Give the boy the right amount of money, a list of outrageous demands, and even Harvey’s office. He’ll abandon all of his self-important talk of never coming back to corporate law.
The boys are back together. I think we’re supposed to be happy about this. Welcome to the law firm of Litt
Fraud Real Lawyer™ and Enabler.
- “So, now, instead of not knowing how to fix things with one woman in my life, I don’t know how to fix things with the other.” Cry me a river. Wait. Don’t. That ending scene with Rachel and Louis actually involved Louis Litt crying me a river, and it was all-too-painful. Regardless of the (uncountably many) issues with the Louis and Tara story, especially with how it fit into the SUITS season 6 finale, that ending opportunity for Rachel to comfort her friend was gut-wrenching. I don’t have to like the relationship to feel bad for someone I care about after a bad breakup. And thanks to his portrayal by Rick Hoffman, it’s decidedly impossible not to feel for Louis Litt.
- Sarah Rafferty, please let me live. Stop stabbing me in the heart whenever you’re given the opportunity. Thank you.
- Dear Gabriel Macht, please see the note that I wrote for your longtime pal. Follow the same directions. Regardless of the weak story that created it, I’ll take an unsure, stressed, hurting Harvey Specter any day. Please and thank you.
- “Why should I believe the word of a liar?” Oliver is the hero we deserve.
- Thank Jessica God Pearson that Rachel wasn’t the one to testify for Mike and throw her career away after just having become a lawyer.
- Less of Harvey beating up old dudes, more of showing the actual conversation with Jessica. Thanks.
- Here’s more food for thought with Donna’s storyline: This character has provided great representation for secretarial/administrative workers. There has never been an indication that Donna wasn’t good enough, especially because of her work. In fact, she’s always been somewhat superhuman. But then there was that “career secretary” derision when she tried to get funding for The Donna. Now, there’s this idea that, because she failed in this business opportunity, her life isn’t enough. What does that say to all of those people who have wound up in these kinds of jobs, had bigger dreams, and maybe found in Donna someone to look up to and/or make them feel better about life? While it’s never harmful to dream, and Donna’s bumps in the road are far more realistic than Mike’s breezing through everything, this particular plot point must tread more delicately moving forward.
- “Because she’s gone, Harvey. And she’s not coming back. It’s time for you to take the reins.” Sure, why not? Let’s just hand Harvey the firm that he’s been willing to sink all this time on behalf of Mike Ross, while Louis has faced all of the consequences and kept the firm afloat. Sure.
- We are not worthy of Gina Torres. It was a delight to see her back, and I can’t wait to see her in this Jessica spin-off that’s being teased. In other news, can you believe that God is a woman, who actually blessed Mike “Goddamn” Ross by showing up to his Character and Fitness hearing to bail him out? Unreal.
- “What I’m not going to do is let her strip you of everything that you are.” Louis Litt, the true MVP. (What is this show that’s making me say this? SUITS? Fix yourself.)
- “It must be nice living in a world where everyone has a weak spot and is unethical…” Samson has clearly learned about throwing shade from twitter, even at his age.
- No, really. “You think you’re showing strength, but intimidation is only weakness.”
- Was it entertaining? Sure. Were there great character moments? Absolutely. Did the story do anything to mature SUITS’ characters? I’m thinking not.
That’s it for SUITS season 6. Join us for season 7 this summer!