[SPOILER heavy – proceed with caution]
I’ll first note that I like the bookending of this episode with Mike and Rachel Zane still talking about moving in together, still in the early phases of romance. Although once again in this episode poor Rachel has no work to do other than be support and encouragement for Mike, she does that with honesty and enthusiasm, which I find sweet. And since their relationship is still a secret (mostly — after all, Donna Paulsen knows all things!) she’s still shy about any PDA at or near the firm. That changes in the episode when she admits to Louis that they’re an item and are moving in together. So, yes, their final scene leaving work is a nice touch.
But before that, the main story: Louis being Louis, instead of simply approaching Mike face to face about his Harvard transcript (you know the one where Mike got the impossible “A+” in Professor Henry Gerrard’s Ethics class?) he decides to invite the Professor to be a guest speaker at the firm later that week. The purpose? To have Mike prove he got that stellar grade, as Gerrard would no doubt recognize his star pupil and welcome him with warm regards. This puts Mike in a tailspin since he sees no way out of this potential meeting/confrontation. The always confident Harvey Specter assures Mike he’ll take care of things (we’d expect nothing less from him, of course) and plans to head out to Harvard himself to handle it. He didn’t get upset, and didn’t blame Mike directly; he just decided he’d take care of it. I’m not sure if it’s Harvey’s new romance with Dana “Scottie” Scott that has him much more human and less abrasive in this episode, but I find I’m a big fan of this current iteration of his character. He really is more sympathetic to the personal strife of his fellow associates/friends, and this is carried over into the B storyline.
Jessica Pearson has some past demons of her own to deal with. Her ex-husband, Quentin Sainz, has finally succumbed to his ALS and he named Jessica and Harvey as executers of his will. It’s clear his death has affected Jessica, and Harvey shows patience and a level head in keeping her on her game. This is important because Quentin’s widow, Lisa Parker, wants to sell his company, which Jessica is adamantly against. She has legal reasons to think it’s a bad idea, but her emotions are too high and it comes off as jealousy. Thankfully Harvey keeps proceedings in check, and his evenness is measured and surprisingly calming. Seriously, I really like this Harvey. I’m worried he’ll go back to his abrasive self soon enough, but I’ll enjoy this more rounded, personable Harvey while we have him.
Mike’s idea to admit to Louis that he changed his grade in Gerrard’s class seemed like a good one: He can admit to Louis that he failed at something – which Louis would eat up – and yet still assert that he attended Harvard through graduation. When Mike tells Louis that in retrospect, he’d do it all over again; he’d go to every class and lecture and “feast on what that place has to offer like no one ever has” we realize he’s speaking honestly about attending Harvard as a real student, and not just filling in the backstory for his lie to Louis about one class. The ploy could have worked except Louis, in his quest for righteousness that will always be out of his grasp, now demands Mike still meet with Gerrard to apologize as the only means of letting it go. And that would be okay if Harvey had been able to convince Gerrard to not show up at the firm for the lecture, but he didn’t and it’s a rare moment when Harvey admits to Mike that he failed and has no more tricks up his sleeve. I’d like to say I was worried this would be the end for poor Mike, but as it’s just past mid-season, I was pretty sure Mike would continue to practice law at Pearson-Specter after this. What I did enjoy was seeing how writer Genevieve Sparling got him out of it this time. In the end, Harvey played on Louis’ sense pride in the firm, and asks him as a friend to let the topic go. It works, since this after all the softer Harvey we’re dealing with here, but I have to wonder how many times Harvey has to flatter Louis before he catches wise. After all, they don’t hang out and it’s clear Harvey still simply puts up with Louis; but as long as that approach works, then I say he can go for it.
Jessica is able to come to terms with her feelings, and sees the truth behind Janet’s importance in Quentin’s life and defends in court Quentin’s selection of Jessica as one of the executors to his will. The overlay of her scene in the court room — pressing for doing what’s right and not sticking just to the letter of the law — with Mike’s encounter with Gerrard and Louis back at the office was well done. The effusive passion of the one (Jessica’s testimony) speaks for the other (Louis letting Mike off the hook when Gerrard shows up) in a nice weave of scene clips. Both stories come to fruition as Louis lets Mike off the hook with Gerrard by essentially never mentioning it, and Jessica and Janet are now on friendly terms and can move ahead with the will execution. Mike and Rachel rather amusingly sneak out before 5:00 pm (gasp!) to play hooky a bit to celebrate. That made me sad for them as workaholics, but then I’m sure many lawyers would agree that’s just the way it is.
One thing to point out is the message of trust that was interwoven throughout the episode, as Harvey reminds Jessica that she told him he needed to trust her as lead partner of the firm, and when he again tells her he trusts her with the will situation while he headed off to see Gerrard at Harvard. This trust was hard earned during the taught, slightly fraught first half of the season when they battled to oust Edward Darby and lost so much (clients, money and that important trust between them). This episode allowed us time to let the firm get back on its feet while we got to see the partners build that trust and harmony they were all lacking. Think about it, right now there’s no one angry at any one else, no drama internally in the firm with these characters, and they aren’t tenuously united in fighting a common foe. When has that happened in recent memory? It may not have been a knuckle biting episode where Mike’s future was concerned, but it was certainly solid and plays its part as a character vehicle, moving them forward to the next unseen conflict.