As audiences learned in last week’s episode of Suits, things at Pearson Hardman are still very much in turmoil – so what better time than to re-introduce an old adversary?
Mike is starting to come around – at least he’s cleaned up his apartment. At the firm, Donna meets Harvey at the elevators, pressing him for information about his date with Zoe. When she deduces said date didn’t happen, she offers him ice cream, but Harvey is not amused. Donna moves on to tell him she has a meeting with somebody named Trent and also lets slip that Mike is not there yet, which irritates Harvey.
He goes to the meeting alone and reassures a panicky Trent, who blurts out that he’s nervous about “the changes around here…this firm just went through a battle and I know it.” He tells Harvey that he has to “consider my options” about both his IPO and his future relationship with Pearson Hardman. Harvey’s not the only one with issues: Louis is complaining to Jessica about having to rescind his hiring offer to Maria, and Jessica tells him that it’s time for him to move on. Louis’s idea of ‘moving on’ is to unload on poor Harold.
When Mike does arrive at the firm – with coffee for Donna, no less – he must deal with the wrath of Specter. Harvey doesn’t take well to Mike’s suggestion that he “ease up” and nearly takes his head off. It’s obviously going to be a great day at work for everyone.
That evening, Donna talks to Harvey about being way too hard on Mike, and he confides in her about what happened with Zoe. “I don’t think kicking the dog is going to help,” she advises. Meanwhile, Mike is already drinking, and runs into Jimmy (returning guest star Pooch Hall), who asks about his bad day. Jimmy tells him how happy he is as an associate at another law firm – he even has an office. Jimmy offers to put in a word for Mike at his new gig, and lets slip that there are others from Pearson Hardman jumping ship.
This sends Mike to Harvey’s doorstep to tell him about the other firm poaching both associates…and clients. Harvey correctly deduces that it has something to do with Allison Holt (returning guest star Diane Neal), who Daniel Hardman brought in and Jessica fired earlier htis season, and who is now working at the rival firm. Harvey and Jessica confront Allison, with Harvey pointing out that she met with Hardman six days earlier, but Allison is still that annoying kind of confident that makes you want to slap her. Unfortunately, no one does.
Back at Pearson Hardman, after finding out they’ve lost the client he assigned Harold to keep working on, Louis publicly fires Harold. To add insult to injury, the audience learns minutes beforehand that Harold just got an unfortunate tattoo – so now he has no job and he has to live with something that was supposed to be a shark but looks like a manatee. Double ouch.
Mike consoles Harold and then tries to persuade Louis to give him a break, which Louis will only do if Mike takes personal responsibility for Harold. Mike comes back to Harold and tells him that there was nothing he could do for him, sealing Harold’s fate.
At the same time, Harvey and Donna have a discussion about what it will take to close every one of his clients. “No one is leaving you,” Donna tells Harvey confidently. Mike then walks into Harvey’s office and points out that all the associates jumping ship are from Louis’s first class – sending Harvey into Louis’s office to call him a traitor, which doesn’t end well. When Louis dares to say that he did nothing wrong, Harvey wrecks his desk and points out all the things Louis has done in the past to screw him over. “I will never trust you,” he says emphatically. “You and I, we’re done.” It’s one of Gabriel Macht’s best monologues of the season, and perhaps of the series.
That evening, Louis is drinking alone when in walks Allison, and it’s clear that he set up a meeting with her. “I’m leaving Pearson Hardman because there’s no room for me anymore,” he tells her, adding that “Harvey wants me gone, and he has a way of getting what he wants.” She tells him that there might be a partnership position at the other firm for him, but when he insists on senior partnership, she retorts that “you’re going to have to prove how much you want it.” Ominous music cue follows.
Mike and Harvey discuss why Trent isn’t returning their calls, during which Harvey has an epiphany, taking Mike with him to meet Trent. Trent explains that Allison represents a hedge fund that owns a controlling interest in a company that’s setting up a great merger for him. Harvey wonders aloud what’s in the deal for Allison, and persuades Trent to let him look over the paperwork. After that meeting, Mike gets assaulted on the street by Tess’s husband, who leaves him with a bloody nose.
Louis approaches Jessica and asks if she will waive his non-compete clause in order for him to join the other firm. He explains that he approached Allison after he “got Harvey’s message,” though he doesn’t give specifics about the incident in his office. Jessica responds by telling him that she’ll let him go, but she doesn’t want him to, which seems to strike a chord with him. It doesn’t stop him from cleaning out his desk, though.
Louis is on his way out when a bloodied Mike stumbles in, and Louis insists on hauling him into the restroom and tending to his injuries. He asks Mike what happened, and Mike tells him vaguely, “Let’s just say that actions have consequences.” He turns the conversation on to Louis, and Louis confides in Mike about how Harvey hates him, but he didn’t always feel that way. They used to be friendly off the clock. Mike asks Louis for help going over the paperwork for Trent’s merger, suggesting that it might redeem him to Harvey.
The next morning, Jessica confronts Harvey about being on tilt, just as Mike walks into Harvey’s office with the paperwork he and Louis were up all night going over. Harvey asks about Mike’s face and says he’s going to kick the ass of the person who did it, which is oddly sweet. When Mike references the story Harvey told him about Harvey’s parents, Harvey correctly infers about Mike’s affair and tells him that he got off easy. He’s further shocked that Mike went to Louis and Louis, not Mike, exposed what’s really going on with Trent’s alleged sweet deal. Turns out it’s not so sweet after all.
Harvey confronts Allison at lunch, gloating from the word go. He tells her that not only did he get Trent back, but he now represents the hedge fund as well. She’s hardly thrown – and offers him a job working with her. “We’re not the only ones circling,” she tells him, pointing out that her firm has stolen all Pearson Hardman’s best senior associates. Cue Mike handing a resume to Jimmy…but it’s Harold’s. He’s calling in his favor with Jimmy to get Harold a job. “He needs a second chance, just like you did,” he says.
In Jessica’s office, Harvey and Jessica have another heart to heart. He tells her that he wants his name on the door. “I don’t want to end-around you anymore. I want to discuss things with you, as an equal,” he tells her. Jessica rebuffs him, saying that she’s “not rushing this decision,” which doesn’t seem to sit well with him, even though she makes a great comparison, reminding him that Michael Jordan was significantly worse in the front office than he was on the basketball court.
While Mike finds out that Rachel doesn’t care about him ending things with Tess, Harvey tears up Louis’s resignation letter. Louis has a lot of unpacking to do.
What stands out about “Blood in the Water” is the ability of Suits to play the long game – something that is increasingly uncommon in television. This is an episode, by and large, devoted to the fallout from events in previous episodes. Whereas other shows might have left that behind after the midseason finale, Suits is showing us the consequences of characters’ actions and how they’re affected as people by the choices that they’ve made.
That gives the show a certain amount of credibility, because the audience knows that there is no assurance everything is going to be okay. A great example of that came earlier this season: how many people expected that Donna would actually be fired? Sure, she came back, but another show would have never dared to let the story go that far. Similarly, while it turned out that Louis wasn’t going anywhere, this episode did a good job of making us worry about him.
Which segues into another strength of the episode – that Louis actually had a point. The characters of Suits aren’t black and white, and this episode shows that as well. Just because Harvey is our main protagonist doesn’t mean he’s always right, and just because Louis can be an antagonist doesn’t mean he doesn’t have legitimate concerns. All of these characters are three-dimensional and they all have merit, which is a credit to not only the depth of the writing but also the talented ensemble, who make us care about all of these people. That’s something special about Suits: technically, it’s a legal drama – something which oftentimes boils down to facts – but it’s a series that evokes everything that’s beyond just what’s on paper.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.