Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Suits 4x03 "Two in the Knees" (The Shot Heard 'Round the World)

"Two in the Knees"
Original Airdate: June 25, 2014

Do you remember when you were in elementary and middle school how your gym teacher used to divide the class into two teams? He or she would select two team captains and those students would usually select, one by one, the people they wanted on their respective teams for dodge ball or kickball or whatever team sport happened to be occurring that day. If you were lucky, you would get placed on a team with your friends. If you were unlucky, you’d be separated from and forced to compete with them. It’s amusing and a little frightening how competitive we get in grade school when it comes to sports in gym class. There was always this unspoken question hanging in the air: “How far will you go to win?” How far did YOU go? Did you taunt the other team when the game began? Did you point out weaknesses in your friends on the opposing team? Did you go so far as to sabotage them or their chances of winning? The question of the hour in this week’s episode of Suits is this: How far will you go to win? Will you protect someone you care about, even if they’re on an opposing team, or will you protect yourself? And, when all of the dust settles from the battle, will you be happy?


As we continue our saga of Mike being an investment banker and therefore separated from Pearson Specter, the longer Mike is separated from Jessica, Harvey, and Donna, the more calloused and desperate he seems to grow. In “Two in the Knees,” we find Harvey desperately trying to both win and save Mike from the ruthlessness of his client Logan. Logan, you see, is growing increasingly frustrated with the fact that Mike keeps resurfacing like a determined cockroach. He believes that Harvey isn’t trying hard enough to squash Mike and for once in his stupid life (I don’t like Logan), he’s actually right. Harvey is trying to fight his protégé, but he wants to win fair and square. Even when he goes after Mike later in the episode with a “low blow,” it’s bad but not nearly as bad as someone with less emotional attachment to Mike would have done. So Harvey, as he so aptly puts it, “[shot Mike] in the knees so [Logan] wouldn’t shoot [him] in the face.” He’d never admit it, but Harvey misses Mike and I think there’s a part of him that’s not firing on all cylinders (Mike one-upped him earlier in the episode) without his friend. But Harvey’s problem has been and always will be his ego. This gets the better of him in the episode and it’s so interesting and revealing to see how deep Harvey’s hurt runs: he metaphorically shoots Mike in the knees but then pours gasoline all over him when he’s down and lights a match. The problem that Mike and Harvey have found themselves in during these first few episodes is this – they’re backing each other into corners. Do you know what happens when you back an animal into a corner? The animal attacks and no one blames the animal for attacking; it is afraid and trying to protect itself.

Mike isn’t innocent this week, to be quite frank and is actually quite cruel during the last half of the episode. We’ve never really seen Mike Ross as vindictive before. We’ve seen him irate. We’ve seen him grieving. We’ve seen him mad and frustrated, but never really cruel or vindictive. And while Mike desperately tries to keep his relationship with his client intact, Harvey makes the decision to be the one to get to take Mike down; if he takes him down, it’ll be less painful (and not career-ruining) than if Logan would do it. Harvey’s strategy is to tell Mike’s client that he used to deal drugs and do drugs; Mike, upon being confronted about his past, grows irate at Harvey. He blames him, yells at him, and then does the unthinkable: threatens blackmail by revealing that he has Harvey’s father’s tapes that Donna told him about earlier in the episode. While Harvey tried to save Mike because of his personal interests, Mike tries to take Harvey down for the very same reasoning. The confrontation between the two was so palpable and painful because of the fact that both men are clearly hurting and both – stubbornly and stupidly – are unwilling to waver, to put aside their pride and egos for a moment and actually talk like the rational lawyers they are (or… well, one of them is). The problem with Harvey and Mike has always been their communication; Harvey never tells Mike what he truly needs to hear. Treating Mike with a dismissive attitude didn’t work well for Harvey last week and I don’t know why he presumed it would again this week. Mike, meanwhile, is growing colder and colder the more time that Harvey spends denying the fact that Mike is a real human being, a real human threat, and someone he actually cares about. What Mike wants – what I believe he truly and honestly wants – is the chance to be seen as a separate entity from Harvey, to be treated with the same kind of consideration that Harvey treats his clients with. The problem of course lies in the fact that Harvey doesn’t heed Donna’s advice in this episode. Take note: most problems on Suits could be solved or avoided altogether if people just listened to Donna Paulsen.

You see, Donna is emotionally invested in both Harvey and Mike, though the latter to a lesser degree. Even with Mike’s new investment banking position, Donna has still taken the time to spend outside of the office with her favorite gossip buddy. And when it’s revealed that Mike has used information she told him in order to hurt Harvey… well, she feels a sense of guilt. But then, in typical Donna fashion, she puts herself aside in order to help Harvey. She is the one who tells him that he made a mistake and his mistake is this: he didn’t consider or respect Mike. It didn’t matter that Harvey saved Mike’s career or his future by exposing a smaller, less damaging secret to his client. It doesn’t matter that Harvey was backed into a corner and he did the best he could under the circumstances. No, what matters – as Donna explains so adequately – is that Harvey let Mike get under his skin and instead of holding his ground, began to lash out at him in return. Mike was mad at Harvey, but he went to the firm not expecting to be coddled but to be treated like an equal. And instead, Donna explains that Harvey threw gasoline onto a flame. Mike had Harvey’s father’s tapes and they were his weapon. You only use a weapon when you’re going on the offense and the point is that Mike gave Harvey a chance to show compassion for the damaging and damning act he did. And when Harvey showed no mercy – when he expressed the fact that he MADE Mike – then and then only did Mike go on the offense and use his weapon to hurt his mentor and friend.

Harvey and Mike have always had a complex relationship and this season is finding them practically firing at each other while standing on fault lines. The fact of the matter is that Mike is growing hot-headed in a desperate attempt to prove himself to the world, to Rachel, and to Harvey. In the process, he’s beginning to lose some of the humanity that made him the guy his grandmother was proud of. Similarly, Harvey has always had pride issues but this season we’re beginning to see that Harvey’s pride and lack of compassion when it comes to Mike Ross was okay at Pearson Hardman and Pearson Darby, but now? Now that Mike is out from under his wings and the wings of the firm, Harvey is hurting and he’s letting that pride take the reins. It hasn’t been pretty thus far and though he keeps learning that lesson, I feel like he will have to learn it more as the season progresses.


I’ll spare you a plot recap and let you know this: Jeff spent the entire episode playing Louis in order to get to Jessica. It’s a shame for him because apart from that, he seems like a decent enough human being (he explains to Jessica in private the reason why he’s never slacked off during a case). The problem lies in the fact that Jeff doesn’t express genuine interest in becoming Louis’ friend or even just a co-worker with common decency and respect. This story, which for most of the episode, was hilarious in some misconstrued notions of Jeff’s sexuality, suddenly takes a turn for the dramatic in the final act and it’s a fine bit of acting from Rick Hoffman.

Louis Litt just wants someone to be genuine with him, no strings attached. He doesn’t want friends who have agendas. Everyone who has come and gone in his life has had some sort of agenda – they’ve used him and abused him and when there’s nothing left for Louis to give, they leave him. This year, Louis is in desperate need of a friend. Harvey has his own issues to deal with in regards to Mike, Rachel is busy tending to Harvey, Donna is off being awesome, and even Katrina is come-and-go. Louis Litt wants someone to befriend him simply because they WANT to befriend him. It’s a beautifully acted and painful scene because we realize how alone Louis is and how much he is neglected. No giant office, no bell, no cat can replace human companionship. And Louis knows that. Jeff may have been playing around and goofing off, but he realized in “Two in the Knees” that those actions have consequences that are often more severe than the behavior that invoked them.


Again: I’ll spare you a plot recap and simply note that the reason Logan agrees to back off and not hire a private investigator is because he cares – however much he can in that Grinch-sized heart of his – about Rachel. Or else he pretends to care about Rachel. Either way, this is a sticky place to be in for Rachel and Mike, as this episode finds the former admitting (after Mike discovered it in a deposition) that Rachel not only had an affair with Logan, not only loved him, but also was proposed to by him and lied for him. Yikes. A flashback reveals the fact that Logan once said some pretty low-blow things to his wife about his mistress (… gee, that’s a surprise) and Rachel uses their past relationship as a bargaining chip, stating that Logan owes her since she lied for him years ago.

No matter what becomes of this love triangle (is it really a love triangle?), I’ll just be glad if it causes Rachel to have more of a backbone and give us some more of Harvey/Rachel scenes like we had in tonight’s episode. I actually quite enjoy them together and I don’t know what it is that makes that so but I won't question it and greedily request more.

The Suits characters are diving head-first into choppy waters. The problem is that no one is backing down and the good thing, for their clients at least, is that no one is backing down. But with the more kindling of lies and secrets, betrayals and promises, scheming and plotting that is heaped onto the already-fueled fire, the more likely it is that someone within or outside of the walls of Pearson Specter will get burned.

And now, bonus points:
  • “God, enough about you. I want to talk about me.” “… We were just talking about you.” “Not enough.” I say it a lot, but Donna Paulsen is the queen of this show. Sarah Rafferty was tonight’s MVP not just for her comedic work which is always top-notch, but also her scenes with Gabriel Macht. Gabriel, meanwhile, brings home the second MVP for his continued facial nuances as Harvey Specter. Tonight, especially, it was clear just how remorseful Harvey felt for damaging Mike and I absolutely loved how palpable those emotions were.
  • “I didn’t know you were a boxing fan.” “I’m a Harvey fan.”
  • “Athletes coming out is all the rage now.”
  • Donna’s cream (or is it silver?) and black dress was STUNNING.
  • “I shot you in the knees so he wouldn’t shoot you in the face. You’re welcome.”
Well, Suits fans, we will be on a hiatus next week so check back in TWO weeks for a new review. Until then! :)


Post a Comment