[SPOILER heavy – proceed with caution]
We left the last episode with Mike Ross receiving a job proposition from newly independent investment banker Jonathan Sidwell , and it’s a pretty sweet deal. After all, we know Mike has hit his glass ceiling at Pearson-Specter, what with his lack of an actual law degree and everything. The only problem is…Mike doesn’t really want to leave. Sure, the plot leads us through the decision-making process — and the “will he/won’t he” debate is woven throughout the episode — but this is, after all, Suits. Inherent in this type of storyline with an established show is the believability on the part of the viewers. Some shows make it a habit right out of the gate to let main characters go on a moment’s notice, keeping viewers anxious and thrilled about outcomes of every major plot play: No one’s safe. Other shows play it safe and steady, knowing they’ve got a specific audience and a standard format to adhere to. Suits fits firmly in the latter category, so any concerns we may have about Mike deciding to leave Harvey Specter’s side are unfounded and passing at best. Mike leaving isn’t really even a question to us watching, but what’s interesting for the viewer is the process itself, as we watch Mike come to that conclusion.
At one point, Mike asks girlfriend Rachel Zane what she really thinks he should do, not just what she thinks he wants to hear. She reaffirms that she’ll agree with any decision he makes, but this angers him and he demands she tell him what she thinks he should do. He can’t own up to his feelings of indecisiveness, so he’s recruiting others for input into making the hard choice for him. He does this to one degree or another throughout the episode, even attempting to negotiate with Sidwell before he’s been officially offered the job. Sidwell sees through it, and calls Mike out on his efforts to get other people to make the decision for him. To some extent I could see Mike’s position: Who hasn’t at some point in their lives been faced with a decision between two choices, either of which could set the tone for things thereafter, and both with equal attributes? We need sounding boards, yes, but Mike pushed the envelope a bit too hard in his efforts of getting others to not offer advice, but give him an answer so he wouldn’t have to make the choice himself.
No doubt for the purpose of keeping the firm always in a state of potential jeopardy, we get a visit from ex-partner Charles Van Dyke, who informs Jessica Pearson that he’s using his ability as a stockholder to audit their books for hidden profits. Seems the man got a higher than usual dividend and this spurs him on to take retribution for being kicked out years ago. Personally, I’d be happy with the bigger pay stub and carry on, but on Wall Street more is always better, so he’s out for money.
Jessica requires the specialties of Louis Litt, but he’s MIA. The poor guy is still reeling – in glorious Litt fashion – from breaking up with his short-term fiancée, Sheila Sazs and is at home and incommunicado. His associate, Katrina Bennett, tries to cover for him to Jessica. In fact, Katrina goes so far – in the name of loyalty – as to enlist the help of Rachel to find the solution to the Van Dyke suit. You can imagine where this is going (I sure did): There was a key loophole overlooked, Jessica is caught unawares and it doesn’t take her long to school Katrina and Rachel – who both barely got away with not being fired – and to snap Louis out of his stupor to come to the rescue. The only really relevant piece of info that came out of this plot-line was that Jessica reveals she had found out when she was first hired that it was due to her meeting the employment diversity requirements. That was clearly fuel for her professional fire and I’m glad she got some closure out of that.
And finally we have the main case of the week, which essentially puts Harvey up against a lawyer who is attempting to reap a large settlement out of threadbare evidence against one of the firm’s big clients. James Quelling, Mike and Harvey soon discover, is a down and out lawyer who’s divorced and in debt thanks to a gambling addiction. Harvey thinks he’s got Quelling’s number when he beats him in a high stakes poker game and offers the winnings as payout, but Quelling later admits he’s done some research of his own — into Harvey and Mike. He’s found a chink in the Pearson-Specter armor and assures Harvey he will have the Bar Association look into the case of Hessington Oil, which under scrutiny could appear as if Mike and Harold Gunderson bought witness testimonies. But Harvey and Mike are more concerned that the Bar will pay closer attention to Mike himself and his lack of a law degree. Harvey’s reaction? To tell Mike to have Lola Jensen hack into the Bar and add Mike’s name to the list. The plan’s not bad, if you ask me, since it would likely just be passing check by the Bar, who would be more focused on the Hessington Oil case. It’s at this point that we see Mike’s made his decision: He’s leaving the firm.
My patient and calm Harvey of late is overlooked in this episode as Harvey has to face down his relationship with Dana “Scottie” Scott and his feelings about Mike leaving. He’s been more open to showing his appreciation of Mike ever since the Darby incident (where Harvey felt betrayed by Mike to Jessica) and I think he’s very professional and mature when he gives Mike advice on taking the job offer, as well as by accepting the fact that Mike wants to leave. So much so that even when Mike finds the solution to their Quelling problem – that Quelling took competitor’s money to trump up the suit — Harvey gives Mike the opportunity to take Quelling down as a final act at the firm. Thus when Harvey gets short with Scottie, who by my accounts is craving more attention than necessary, for always nagging him about telling her what’s on his mind, I can’t really blame him. He can’t tell her about Mike’s secret (he should really just tell her that it’s not his secret to tell) and when he does admit he’s upset that Mike is leaving, she proceeds to give him advice. Which mind you, he didn’t ask for. It’s clear that the Harvey-Scottie relationship will be on the rocks soon, but they’ve been unstable since Day 1, so that comes as a shock to anyone except maybe the 2 of them.
You’d think we’d be ended here with the cases of the week closed and Mike hanging up his tie. But nope, as we said, this is Suits, and it’s only Suits with Harvey and Mike. Quelling provides Mike his lament, about targeting Big Tobacco and wanting to make a difference as a lawyer, which is enough of a reminder (and none too subtle, I might add) to Mike about why he wanted to practice law in the first place. If anyone was truly surprised that Mike decided to have Lola add his name to the Bar, they need to go back and watch the series from the start again. We’re just lucky that Mike did the deed before Harvey had a chance to tell Scottie. But then that means Harvey will still be butting heads with her going forward, and that can’t lead to anything good.