“Thunder Away,” the ninth episode of SUITS’ ten-episode final season, dealt with the immediate aftermath of Harvey Specter’s recent loss in the only way possible for this series: When he was devastated by something outside of the office, Harvey’s work family showed their support for him on a professional level. Because, for Harvey, the professional and the personal have always been connected; and, more to the point, because the situation at work, unlike life and death, was something over which the lawyers might be able to find some semblance of control. However, the seemingly perfect plan backfired, all because Faye Richardson couldn’t even respect Harvey’s grief.
A crushing goodbye. When SUITS is consistent—which the series has been on a whole new level throughout its final season—the emotional impact of even the smallest change has the potential to be huge. It should come as no surprise, then, that the fallout of Lily Specter’s death—by no means a “small” moment—was executed for maximum devastation. Just after “Prisoner’s Dilemma” ended with the horrible news, “Thunder Away” opened with a flashback to a moment Harvey had mentioned during his touching conversation with her in “Scenic Route.”
In the flashback, a young Harvey attacked his mother for being the only one in the stands during his biggest and best-played game ever. He was hurt that his father wasn’t there; in the absence of the actual person who had let him down, Harvey turned the moment into a reason to scream at Lily for ruining his big day by lying to him. Now an adult, and having recently seen the big day through new eyes, Harvey eulogized his mother by telling the story from a different perspective. He described how much he loved baseball and credited his father for giving him the love of the game; but now, he realized it was Lily who had been most supportive all along: “But the truth is, it was my mom that took me to every practice, cheered me on at every game, and never missed a second. She was always there, even when I thought she wasn’t there.” Pushing past a broken voice and a broken heart, Harvey continued, “I didn’t know that for a long time, but now I do.”
Glimpsing Mike Ross in the crowd, Harvey attempted a smile through his tears, then continued to talk about how much he wished he had been able to tell Lily, the woman who taught him that nobody was perfect. As he had more and more difficulty with his words, Harvey began to close out his goodbye—but not before he had the chance to rush through some of the hardest to say, especially in public. “I’ll always love you.”
After the funeral itself, Harvey had the chance to talk to Mike and put what happened the last time he’d visited behind them. Mike’s actual words of apology weren’t needed, though, because “being here now means everything.” What mattered for Mike and Harvey’s relationship was not that they had bickered over a case, but that they’d been there for each during all the moments that mattered.
As other funeral guests mingled and Harvey went off in search of his brother, Mike asked Donna for the truth about how Harvey was faring following Lily’s death. Donna expressed her own concerns, pointing out that this was probably the worst possible time for her boyfriend to experience any kind of loss: “I mean, his family has been shattered; and this woman has been dismantling his other family. And Mike, she’s never going to stop.”
For anyone who hasn’t paid attention during the previous eight episodes in SUITS’ final season, “this woman” would be Faye Richardson.
Because neither Donna’s superpowers nor Mike’s super brain could bring Lily back from the dead, Donna and Mike focused on what they thought they could fix: the “other family.” It wouldn’t be a SUITS takedown without the entire gang involved, though, so Mike made amends with Samantha Wheeler and enlisted her in his plan to rid
us all the firm of Faye once and for all.
Wrongful termination suit, anyone? The next morning, Harvey woke up with plans to stay home and wallow in his own misery—oversized depression robe and all. But Donna had something else in mind—she wasn’t going to leave Harvey home alone, no matter what Faye might have to say about it. Just as Donna was getting cozy with Harvey over the news that Faye might not be around forever if she and the youth had anything to do with it, Mike let himself in to announce that he’d come to the rescue
of everything but Darvey’s shot at some snuggle time.
Cue the perfect SUITS family scene. Because really, this series could not end without at least one more fluffy, wisecrack-filled scene for these three crazy kids—the original keepers of Mike’s secret and the original nuclear family, from which all else grew.
Mike jumped right back into the “Robin” role, declaring he’d been summoned by the Bat-Signal. Then, Donna and Mike told Harvey about their plan to cheer him up by taking down the woman who’d been making his life miserable, prompting Harvey to ask Donna if she’d put Mike up to suing Faye. In true Donna fashion, she had a snappy comeback at the ready: “Well, at least I didn’t put him up to pretending to be a lawyer. Too soon?”
The fun continued, as Harvey called his girlfriend and best bro/work son/former associate his “sidekicks,” and it was almost as if some normalcy had been restored. In other words, mission accomplished. Harvey pain was lessened for a few minutes, and he was ready to suit up and try going back to work. When Louis was shocked to see him, Harvey said he couldn’t miss watching the “fireworks” of Mike
pretending to be a lawyer using the law to take down the bad guy.
But exorcising the firm demon, much like working through grief, proved to be anything but straightforward. Once Mike and Sam officially notified Faye of their wrongful termination suit against her, she reacted by forcing Louis and Harvey to defend her and work against their own loved ones. If they did their best and won, she swore she’d leave; but if Specter and Litt, in any way, worked with the other side or told anyone about the deal, the entire firm would be dismantled.
“Keep your condolences, Faye. You don’t give a shit about me or my mom” indeed. Nothing says “human empathy” like forcing a guy whose mom just died to fight the people he loves.
To say that working against the one person who knew what he was going through tore Harvey apart would be an understatement. What was supposed to be a chance to get Harvey a win had now become yet another impossible situation. He was defending someone he hated, and it meant hurting people not only cared about, but desperately needed by his side. So, it was only natural that he’d revert back to the excessive cockiness exhibited during SUITS’ early years. Moreso than ever before, it was easy to see through the facade to the pain underneath; and yet, oddly enough, it was nice to see Harvey “being a douche again,” to borrow a phrase from Mike.
It was the “playing the man” version of Harvey that talked Faye into a mock trial in front of the entire firm. In SUITS tradition, this was a vehicle for a number of hard-hitting moments: First, as a surprise to no one, Harvey tore Faye down and pointed out how much everyone at The Specter Family Firm hated her. Second, Alex had managed to dig up proof that Faye had been sued for wrongful termination when she hexed another firm eight years ago. And finally, Harvey Specter was being especially brutal because he loved Louis Litt.
That’s right: Harvey loves Louis. It’s kind of a big deal.
Rather than taking the easy “oh, our main character had some kind of emotional epiphany in the middle of grieving” route, SUITS’ penultimate episode was all about letting Harvey simply admit to feelings that he’d had all along—and was already on a direct path to being better at expressing, anyway.
Just after the funeral, Harvey told his brother, Marcus, that he loved him. Now, as part of defending Louis against Faye’s post-mock-trial bullying, he had the opportunity to say out loud what every SUITS viewer has known for years: He loves Louis and respects him as a lawyer. And it wasn’t some sort of desperate confession because “life’s too short” or any other cliché; it just…was.
Later, Louis and Harvey had a great moment in the bullpen—where it all began and therefore must, eventually, all end for the pair—during which Louis thanked Harvey for defending him and told him how much he appreciated hearing that he was loved. But there was some business to handle, too: Since Louis didn’t want Harvey to have to tear Samantha apart at the real trial the way he’d done with Faye at the office, he offered to do it. And so, it was time to go home and get ready for a day in court.
Louis threw himself into his work, to the point of going overboard; and Samantha Wheeler got Litt Up. Louis almost surely had the jury convinced that Faye had cause to fire Sam; but when it was Team Mike’s turn to work their magic, they fought back hard and came bearing the same key evidence that Harvey had used against the
Demon Special Master during mock trial. Fitting, seeing as how there’s no way Harvey Junior and Female Harvey (or Robin and Batwoman, if you will) wouldn’t come after Faye using Original Harvey (Batman)’s exact strategy.
The only difference was Mike and Sam had help in the form of Katrina Bennett bringing them all the mock trial details. Since Louis and Harvey hadn’t been able to let the rest of the family know about their deal, Katrina wrongfully assumed Harvey and Louis might like some assistance with throwing the case. Of course, all this accomplished was making the situation even worse, as Faye now demanded that The Specter Family Firm prove Sam had, in fact, fabricated evidence in her case against Mike—which would guarantee her disbarment.
Unable to handle the idea of using Mike to destroy Samantha—a double punch to the gut, if there ever was one—Harvey finally lost his precarious control over his emotions; and Katrina suffered the wrath of a Specter scorned. He called her an idiot and said she was lucky he didn’t fire her. When Katrina reminded him that she was a senior partner and couldn’t be talked to that way, he really went off: “And I am going against two of my closest friends! I am doing all of this while my mother just died, and I can’t even talk to the one guy who can understand what the hell I’m going through!”
For those of you SUITS viewers playing along at home, this is what we’d call the “anger” stage of Harvey’s grief.
A much-needed break. Donna heard Harvey’s fight with Katrina and, as she had been doing for the entirety of the
exorcism gone wrong case, she supported Harvey in her own way—by letting him do what he needed, all while keeping an eye on his back and reaching out when necessary. Just as Harvey had said of his late mother, Donna was there for him, even when he thought she wasn’t.
So, basically, Donna was just the same person SUITS has always delivered.
When she first heard about Faye’s “deal,” or ultimatum as we should probably call it, she quietly asked Alex Williams if she’d verify that Ms. Bitchardson could actually make good on her threats to dismantle the firm. When Faye came to her, looking for Gretchen, Donna cut her off and told her that nobody at The Specter Family Firm gave a damn what she needed. She also pointed out that Faye knew Lily had just died; but she put Harvey in a bad position, regardless. There also may or may not have been some threats to Faye’s immortal, blackened soul.
Before the trial, Donna offered to get out the can opener; but Harvey didn’t want to have it tainted by the awful situation. So, she showed support by offering to listen while he practiced his opening statement instead.
And now that Harvey had finally broken, it was off to ask Mike to please take a timeout and have a drink with Harvey. Because sometimes, you just need your family.
Batman and Robin reminisced about old times over drinks; and Batman even admitted to missing his sidekick. As anything involving Harvey’s thought process often does, the conversation eventually came around to Donna; and Harvey thanked Mike for his role in
never abandoning the Darvey ship “helping make all that happen.”
But the demon possession still loomed darkly over the family. As the series’ penultimate episode closed, Faye fired Katrina while Harvey was busy ruining his father-son bonding time…by serving Junior a subpoena.
Kill me more, SUITS. Just…kill me more.
- Another SUITS episode, another chance to be blown away by Gabriel Macht. The funeral scene was utterly devastating. Every bit of attention to detail, in the way he would get choked up on certain words or work his jaw in an attempt control himself, made it difficult to remember that Harvey Specter was a fictional character—not a very real loved one who had recently lost his mother.
- Honestly, this entire episode was real from a standpoint of how to deal with loss. People talk about non-death things at funerals. Sometimes, we share old stories about the loved ones who have passed; others, we catch up with family and friends whom we haven’t seen in a while but were reconnected with through our loss. Occasionally, the bereaved will even turn to work to take his or her mind off of things. We all mourn differently; for Harvey and the gang, it was 100% fitting that they’d cook up some way to slay the Big Bad. Actually, let’s take that back: It was 100% in-character. There’s no wrong way to mourn or to support a loved one who’s grieving; so, pretty much anything Donna, Mike, or any of the others did would have been 100% fitting—just as long as they showed up and had good intentions.
- And in terms of what is and isn’t right to do for loved ones when they’re hurting, don’t take it from me. Take it from the Gretchen, when she helped Katrina through her guilt over avoiding the funeral: “You’re saying everything you need to right here,” meaning that by filling in for Harvey at work—seriously, just showing she cared she cared and wanted to help lift some of his burden—Katrina was doing the right thing. Not every relationship is about huge gestures; sometimes it’s the smaller ones that mean the most.
- “No one needs to see those pajamas.” “You’re getting off easy. You should see what Louis wears.” Literally no one needed a reminder of that. No. One.
- The Bar sent Faye to investigate The Specter Family Firm; but she didn’t know Mike Ross, the guy who made headlines a couple of years* (*SUITS time) ago for being convicted of fake lawyering, when he was staring her in the face. And that was after the whole Kevin Miller/Sean Cahill/Andy Malik thing. Talk about ignorant and worthless.
- Faye: Tell no one. Harvey: Ok. I’m telling my wife. Try me.
- We love one husband.
- …and he’s going to make this whole “husband” thing official, with his grandmother’s ring. Lily was rooting for it before she even had the chance to meet Donna in person. Canon Darvey power.
- I’m very not fine about that letter, by the way. Another A+ for Macht’s acting as Harvey read that thing, too. No words. None.
- He’s going to tell Donna what was in the letter one day. That “one day” had better be soon, considering SUITS is ending next week. I mean, Darvey are technically engaged, but making it official with a family heirloom and blessings from beyond the grave would be nice.
- “It’s called playing the man. And it’s what I do.” That’s my boy!
- “You called us a pack of wild dogs because you are a bitter, vindictive human being.” Tag yourself. I’m simultaneously Louis Litt looking bored when asked if he’s going to defend Faye from that truth bomb—and Donna looking a strange combination of proud and turned on by Alpha Harvey.
- Count the number of times Harvey told people he loved them, expressed difficulty with coping, or thanked someone for being there for him. Compare that to every other SUITS episode, combined. Exactly.
- “When you come after someone I love, you’re going to get it back like you’ve never seen before.” The Harvey Specter way.
- …and also the Donna Paulsen way, which is reason number 3298743 why Darvey are perfect for one another. “And if you hurt Harvey more than he’s already been hurt, mark my words: I’ll be the one coming for you next.”
- Sure, sex is great and all, but have you ever witnessed Donna Paulsen in Protective Spouse Mode?
- Nothing quite like seeing Harvey drinking by himself before we cut to closing credits. What was that about Faye dismantling his family again? Exhibit A.
- Harvey’s totally going to wind up walking away to work with Mike, right? Right.
SUITS’ series finale airs on Wednesday, September 25 at 9/8c on USA.