When SUITS last left the team at [Insert Firm Name Here], it was time for the latest in a long series of name-partner changes. This time, for lack of anyone left to hold the title, it was Louis Litt’s turn to take a stab at running the series’ central business. As anyone who has seen even a single episode could predict, Louis’ first day as the boss didn’t exactly run smoothly; and as a mid-season opener, “Rocky 8” was probably the opposite of what the youths would call “lit.”
The new boss. Remember when Robert Zane and Harvey Specter were bickering like toddlers, and Louis Litt was lit(t)erally the only lawyer left at the firm who was behaving in a mature manner? Well, enough of that character development. Louis prepared himself for his first day as managing partner by being ridiculously extra as he talked to himself in front of his own mirror. Then, when he was finished with psyching himself out, it was time to go parade his way through the halls of All The Names On The Wall, reaching up for denied high-fives and smacking random employees on the butt.
A little bit of strutting might have been expected for SUITS’ “comic relief” character, but 84 years of it, complete with inappropriate touching, wasn’t exactly the way to start season 8.5 off with a bang. And the blatantly unprofessional behavior, all for the sake of what amounts to a pre-pubescent boy’s idea of comedy, didn’t stop there. When Harvey’s case of the week inevitably went down a troublesome path and, at Robert’s insistence, Harvey approached Louis about the case…Well. This happened: “I intend to be the world’s best delegator. If I’m going to do that, there’s no way I can try to tame you. And what I definitely can’t do is put a saddle on you, much less try to ride you bareback.”
Har, har. Louis doesn’t understand that “ride you bareback” can be seen as sexual. All the comedy!
Even when Harvey expressed his discomfort with the metaphor, Louis just plowed right on with it. There was also a fair amount of arm-caressing, complete with a finishing “giddyup!” and slap on the ass. (Because we hadn’t seen enough of those. Just locker room behavior, I guess. Forget the increased focus on workplace harassment, especially in film, following the #MeToo movement…)
Even if that exchange was read for the intended humor, there was still the small matter of Louis being, at least initially, incapable of doing any managing. When one of his longtime clients needed assistance, he threw a tantrum, refusing to give the client up, even after Donna reminded him of his job duties.
By the end of the SUITS mid-season premiere, after a pretty big confrontation, in which Donna — rightfully — reminded Louis that she was the one who put him in the position of managing partner, Louis was finally ready to manage. After being given the case, then yanked off of it, Alex was able to help Louis’ client, Thomas Kessler, solve all of his problems; the Robert and Harvey situation was handled with a “genius” suggestion from Louis himself; and everyone lived happily ever after.
Remember when Harvey had no idea how to behave like a managing partner until Donna taught him? Yeah. Louis is no different. We love consistently substituting one character for another in a recycled plot!
“This is about handing Andrew Malik a big, fat public knockout.” On Louis’ first day as managing partner, Harvey showed his respect for his frenemy-turned-boss by showing up late to work. But contrary to assumption, he didn’t oversleep after having nightmares about making Louis managing partner: He was busy researching his latest chance to go after his arch-nemesis, Andrew Malik.
Ostensibly, Harvey’s reason for going after Malik was that he wanted to get some justice for Jessica Pearson. Which, ok. We’ll believe that. But I’ve got a bridge to sell anyone who thinks it wasn’t, at least partially, about Harvey’s inability to handle the fact that the other man had beaten him — and on more than one occasion.
The case-of-the-week had to do with a boxer throwing a match, which left the SUITS writers plenty of opportunities to give Harvey sport-related dialogue. (No, no. Not the usual opportunities for Harvey to talk in sport-speak, extra ones!) There were also plenty of chances for Harvey to step into the ring in something other than his business suit, but alas. Those opportunities were missed.
Anyone who watches SUITS for the cases and is sorely missing the Harvey-Mike dynamic probably loved “Rocky 8.” The reason? New OTP, Robert Zane and Harvey Specter. Rarvey? Hobert? Zecter? Who cares what the name is: These guys are amazing together, even in an otherwise weak episode. All of that classic SUITS banter was back; and it was finally, finally time to see Wendell Pierce and Gabriel Macht working together for more than the half-second spurts that they seemed to share in the first ten episodes of the season. Take a guy out of the managing partner role, and he suddenly exists. Who knew?
Aside from Harvey’s complete lack of a soul when faced with the decision of whether or not to throw a guy with brain damage and a family to provide for under the bus, the latest round of Specter (and Zane!) vs. Malik was about as well done as could be expected. And when the job ended with an actual win for “our” side, it was the type of nice wrap-up that SUITS just usually doesn’t provide.
Sure, Malik’s parting words were a clear threat, just to let viewers know that we’d (obviously) see him again, but: “Tomorrow’s going to be what tomorrow’s going to be, Andy. But for today? Jessica Pearson sends her regards.”
We’ll take it.
Things we won’t take: Donna, what are you doing? Let’s try to keep this as brief as possible because SUITS is exhausting with the lack of follow-through or attention to its own canon details.
Thomas Kessler is a client at a firm at which Donna Paulsen is COO. But despite her “rules” about not shitting where she eats, she just couldn’t resist flirting with the guy and giving him a pet name: Stupid.
(Pretty sure she’s used that one on Harvey, too. Or was it Dummy? Something.)
Donna has broken this rule before, with disastrous results. Remember Stephen Huntley from that (awful) British invasion plot? Right.
So, to be clear: Twelve years of shameless flirting, putting themselves on the line for each other, and clearly being more than just secretary and boss meant nothing when it came to Harvey. Or, well. It meant enough to force the man into being what he hated most — unfaithful — before Donna said she felt nothing. And it meant enough for Harvey to end his first supposedly “real” relationship in, like, ever because he chose Donna over Paula.
…but the rules always applied to Darvey, whereas they don’t to Donna and Louis’ surprise longtime client, whom no one has ever heard of before now. There’s no history there, nothing to make this worth breaking a rule — much like Stephen wasn’t worth it. Though, to be fair, Stephen came around early enough in the series that he could’ve been used as either a stepping stone or a lesson learned, neither of which were actually the case — but hey, let’s have Thomas flirt with Donna and ask her out. Even when she says no because he’s a client, let’s have him promise to ask her one more time after she’s had a chance to “think” more. (Women love being pursued after they’ve turned a guy down, totally. Nailed it.) Because she, apparently, wasn’t thinking when she was trying to be professional.
Was there chemistry? Who knows? Quite frankly, why does anyone care 8.5 seasons in? Shoutout to Stu, who, like Harvey, has chemistry and an established history with Donna but will never be a thing with her.
And after a long-awaited, likely completely off-screen, girls’ night with Gretchen, Katrina, and Sam, Donna will make the decision to date Thomas. Because why not?
It’s not exactly as if either Donna or Harvey’s character development matters, when SUITS can constantly rewrite its own stories anyway.
But wait! There’s more!
- “I want this firm to be the same as it ever was.” So, constantly on the verge of collapse? Always with the drama? Retelling the same story over and over again for 8 years? Cool!
- “Have you met Samantha Wheeler? I’m not going to make an enemy out of her.” The mood.
- “Robert, did you know there are 12 different synonyms for the word ‘incompetent?’” “And after he signs this, there’s going to be a thirteenth: Malik.” I ship it.
- “With you overcoming the difficulties of being white, you must’ve thought you’d never make it.” “And you, having to deal with the struggles of being a man.” Meanwhile, Samantha had to overcome institutionalized misogyny, while Alex had to prove himself in spite of the color of his skin. But that’s none of my business.
- “I will no longer be getting your coffee, getting your car washed, or trimming your neck hair.” Thankfully, it turns out that Gretchen was joking and has never done any of those things…which begs the question of why Donna was ever, especially as COO, expected to have coffee ready for Harvey.
- Speaking of: “There’s this little thing called a kitchen. Just walk down the hall, past reception, and take a left at ‘I’ve never heated up your coffee, and I’m not about to start now.’” So, the mutual delivery of coffee was personal — or just seen however viewers wanted to see it. Noted.
- “I know Jessica was your mentor, but she was also my friend.” Imagine getting to call Jessica Pearson your friend. Legends only, here.
- “And for the record, my playbook is a lot deeper than just Samantha Wheeler.” “So, she did it for you then.” “Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m saying.” Samantha is to Robert as Donna is to literally everyone else. The end!
- I counted at least two references to “co-ed bathrooms” as the biggest joke/worst thing ever. Your home bathrooms, Target’s family restrooms, Starbucks’ gender neutral bathrooms, and countless single-stall/single-sex toilets across the country say hi. Har, har. So funny, though.
- Not a fan of pitting Samantha and Katrina against one another. Am a fan of Katrina figuring out who she wants to be as a lawyer (yet another lesson from Donna, of course) and, eventually, establishing herself amongst the other major players.
- Big, big fan of a ladies’ night…whether we get to see it or not.
- “Do I look like I don’t have nothing to do but to come and watch ROCKY VII with your lonely ass?” Darvey? I don’t know her. Rarvey (or whatever we’re callingn them) is where it’s at.
Don’t miss the next all-new SUITS episode on Wednesday, January 30, at 10/9c on USA.