Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Suits 5x03 "No Refills" (An Unstoppable Force) [Contributor: Jen]

"No Refills"
Original Airdate: July 8, 2015

Hello fabulous fellow Suits watchers! The lovely Jenn asked me to fill in for her this week. I shall do my best! For those unfamiliar with me, I am a guest columnist at Just About Write. I write weekly reviews for TV Fanatic (Teen Wolf and Graceland) and commiserate with the lovely Jenn over our shared obsession with Arrow. Please keep in mind that although we share the same name, watch the same shows, ship the same ships and think the same thoughts, her wit and writing talent far exceeds mine. Keep your expectations low and everybody will be happy. Cool?

Let's dig in...

Harvey & Donna (and Louis)

The Suits tennis match continues for the third week in the row. This is like watching the Venus sisters go at it and Donna is the ball.

Donna is upset, rightfully so, Louis put her in the middle of his war with Harvey. Again. She told Harvey she didn't know anything about Louis' compensation scheme, when in fact she did. She may work for Louis, but her loyalty shouldn't come at the price of her integrity.

At some point, one of these men needs to take the higher road. Unfortunately, "some point" is not this week's episode. Donna tells Louis that Harvey confronted her about the compensation scheme. She covered for Louis and sacrificed a piece of who she is to do it. Louis immediately tells Donna that Harvey plans to steal her away from him. (Harvey isn't the only one with severe abandonment issues.)

This is like a bad divorce with two parents (Harvey/Louis) fighting over the kid (Donna). Both Harvey and Louis look like petulant toddlers when they should be acting like adults. They both need to grow up. This all leads to yet another nasty confrontation between Donna and Harvey. If she ever leaves Louis it doesn't mean she'll return to Harvey. Ouch. Necessary, but still... ouch.

It's extremely important for Donna to make this point to Harvey. The issues between them are not temporary. Donna leaving Louis isn't going to magically fix what's wrong between them. The crux of the Harvey/Donna issue is Donna is ready for change. She wants more. Harvey doesn't want change. In fact, he runs from it screaming at the top of his lungs.

What happens when an immovable object (Harvey) meets and unstoppable force (Donna)? That's the sum total of Suits Season 3 thus far. Donna is barreling headlong into change. She forced the issue the only way she could -- by leaving. For Harvey, it feels like total abandonment and, in a way, he's not wrong. However, Harvey's feelings were not Donna's top priority when she left him. Her feelings were. Donna needs more. She deserves more.

Harvey: Bullying you? I'm paying you!

Psychiatrist: And that doesn't mean I exist to serve your needs.

Harvey: Well it [...] should.


There it is. 

The essential problem between Harvey and Donna. Donna doesn't exist for Harvey. She's her own person with her own needs and desires. If they are in love (and they are) then a shift needs to happen. This relationship needs to morph from employer/employee to something real.

The problem is that a real relationship requires a complete loss of control for Harvey. He loves Donna. He's in love with Donna, but being her employer allows Harvey to keep control over their relationship. It's about him. His needs. His wants. His terms. It's a carefully constructed wall. By leaving, Donna eliminated the only piece of control Harvey has between them. She eliminated the wall. Now all that's left is the emotional avalanche he's been avoiding.

It culminates in a stunning "imagined" confrontation between Harvey and Donna while he's in a therapy session. Harvey is able to imagine word for word what Donna would say to him if she was really sitting across from him. For Donna, she didn't leave first. Harvey did. The minute he backed away from the "I love you," he abandoned her. Deep down, Harvey knows that. He knows Donna is simply putting herself first, because he can't. Even though he desperately wants to.

Harvey Spector has severe abandonment issues. Donna joining Louis' team feels like a betrayal. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter who Donna works for. Anyone other than him is betrayal to Harvey. Even though he understands her reasons, Harvey believes his feelings should still come first. Which means... we have a long way to go Suits fans. Harvey isn't getting fixed overnight.

That being said, Harvey can recognize that the knife in his gut is the same feeling Donna experienced every time he rejected her. But when the knife is twisted, Harvey wants to twist back. He doesn't know any other way than to fight. Donna was the one person who could show Harvey another way. Now he needs to find it without her. He won't win her back as a lawyer. With jabs, knockout punches, schemes, threats and a neverending volley with Louis. Harvey won't win Donna back by fighting. He has to win her back with love. Harvey knows this and it terrifies him.

Mike and Harvey

Mike shifted into the tennis ball position for a bit as Harvey and Robert Zane lobbed him back and forth. Harvey's abandonment issues were at DEFCON 1. Seeing Mike work with his biggest competitor chilled Harvey to the bone. So Harvey did what Harvey does. He yelled and bullied and... had a panic attack.

Mike is the first to witness Harvey experiencing a panic attack. In turn, Mike panics. Harvey Spector is always in control. Seeing his best friend and mentor unraveled like that had to be unnerving for Mike. He rebounded quickly and was a calming influence on Harvey. He kneeled before him. Offered him water. Promised whatever Harvey needed he would, "get it done."

Mike wasn't going anywhere. Harvey didn't have to worry. He wasn't alone. Sometimes people just need to hear that. Sometimes people just need the reassurance. Harvey Spector is many things, but above all, he's human like the rest of us.

Mike and Robert Zane

People often have more in common than they realize. The two most important men in Rachel's life, Mike and her father Robert Zane, started in very similar manners -- from absolutely nothing. They identify with the forgotten, the poor, the lost and the broken because they were those people once. It's this common denominator that teams these two men together on a case.

Zane, of course, had difficulty treating Mike as anything but an associate. Zane is another one of these guys who's used to bullying people to get what he wants. His expedited trial strategy was a terrible idea. He should have listened to Mike. Luckily, Mike is there to save the day with a stunning example of his photographic memory. It's been awhile since Suits pulled that rabbit out of the hat. I missed Mike's photographic memory. It's like a warm blanket in the cold.

One of Zane's chief concerns with Mike marrying Rachel is he doesn't know him. Mike allowed Zane to peek behind the curtain and Robert Zane's biggest surprise wasn't Mike's photographic memory, but the similarities between the two. People always say women marry their fathers.

Jessica and Rachel

I'm enjoying the relationship being explored between Jessica and Rachel this season.

Jessica: If there's one thing I've noticed about you it's that you give your opinion whether it's asked for or not.

If that line doesn't sum up Rachel Zane then I don't know what will.

Rachel: And why does my opinion matter to you so much that you would go through all this?

Jessica: Your opinion doesn't matter to me.

This is what I love about these two women. Rachel can be a little uppity sometimes and Jessica is always ready to knock her down a peg or two. It's not done out of cruelty, but rather to teach Rachel she has to work to get to the top. She has to prove herself. Nothing will be handed to her because nothing was handed to Jessica. Yes, Jessica likes Rachel, but more importantly, she sees something in Rachel. Which means she believes in her. A person's belief, especially someone like Jessica Pearson, can make all the difference.

Stray thoughts:
  • At this point, Gina Torres does not need to speak words. She simply needs to wear the cranberry suit and glide into a room. I'll be enthralled. Utterly captivated. Is there an Emmy for gliding while wearing a cranberry suit? There should be.
  • Jack Zoloff feels like baby Daniel Hardman. All the Suits bad guys feel like Baby Daniel Hardmans.
  • I am in love with Gretchen. I need Gretchen to stay. I'm not entirely certain Donna should return to Harvey, especially if they are in a relationship. This means I get to keep my Gretchen, but Suits without Harvey and Donna working together is like chocolate chip cookies without milk. It's just wrong. A Sophie's Choice is developing here folks. I am not thrilled about it. I'll just ignore it and hope it goes away.


  1. (The problem is that a real relationship requires a complete loss of control for Harvey. He loves Donna. He's in love with Donna, but being her employer allows Harvey to keep control over their relationship. It's about him. His needs. His wants. His terms. It's a carefully constructed wall. By leaving, Donna eliminated the only piece of control Harvey has between them. She eliminated the wall. Now all that's left is the emotional avalanche he's been avoiding.)

    This paragraph is perfection. It is the absolute best description of why Donna had to leave Harvey, and why Harvey is reacting to it so badly. Harvey NEEDS to feel in control of all things and for 12 years that control has extended to his relationship with Donna. It's why she says to him in last season's finale that HE'S the one who has everything. The balance in their relationship was weighed very heavily in Harvey's favor. That may work in a boss/employee relationship, but it was clear that is no longer what they have. And no longer what Donna wants. So she had to go. And now Harvey doesn't have a choice but to either confront their status as equals or to keep pushing the feelings away. Which leads to the panic. But this is Harvey. So I'm pretty sure we're not going to see him accepting his emotions right away. He's going to run as far as he can. And probably do some really stupid stuff along the way. But some things can never be out run. But I'm buckled in for a bumpy ride.

    It was SO nice to see Mike and Rachel outside of their relationship with each other. Especially Rachel. I needed to see her focus some back on her career. And teaming her with Jessica was just a fabulous idea. Jessica Pearson makes EVERYONE better.

    I need Louis to man up. I need him to really start to take a stand. Not just for Donna's sake, but for himself too. He's now got a pretty great team mate and support system. He needs to learn to count on that, and finally figure out who he really is not as a reflection of Harvey, Jessica, or anyone else.

    Great review especially for a pinch hitter!! Thanks!!

  2. Hi there, Jen! I love your blog (die-hard Olicity shipper) and since you were the one that got me started on Suits, I'm happy to hear your thoughts on that, too. You nailed it about Harvey needing control: As long as Harvey paid Donna, he knew she would stay in his life for sure and that's why he's having panic attacks now. He needed that security desperately. I think that's also partly why he kept paying her: It was the last bit of control he had... and that's gone now too.
    I loved the imagined discussion during the therapy session as I'm loving all the therapy stuff! It was so intense and gave us a real glimpse into Harvey's feelings. I'm craving more.
    On a sidenote: How great was Jessica's white gown in the end? She so outdid Rachel, absolutely stunning.
    Looking forward to hearing Jenn's thoughts again next week!! I love you two ladies, keep up the great work ;-)

  3. Those last 3 paragraph on Harvey and Donna are so well said and really captures the layers of understanding in that "imagined" scene !

  4. I also thought the control comments were spot on. He used his relationship as her boss to create separate "rules" for him that kept him "safe" but still involved in a relationship with her. He would not risk more because he could not face the loss of control and security, and eventual pain if he lost her...but he lost her anyways. I said it last week and I will say it again, that threat at the end of last week directed towards Louis was really a reflection of Harvey's fears and eventually what happened to him because he let that fear keep him from opening up--he did not try for more, but he still lost Donna, the "thing" he values most. Louis is so off on still thinking it is the money, but then again he is off on Harvey in general.
    What I like is that we are finally seeing Donna make good on this conversation (paraphrased):
    Harvey: you don't keep secrets from me.
    Donna: you keep secrets from me all the time.
    Harvey: that's because I am your boss.
    Donna: well then maybe you shouldn't be my boss anymore.

    I know this show does not keep time like Arrow, so it's has not been that long, but I feel like she has been letting this one stew.

    1. Great analyzing! Couldn't agree more!

  5. Jen great review as always! I completely agree that is it always Harvey who gets everything he wants and Donna has everything to loose. I mean for heaven's sake she probably is in her late30s-early40s and she is still alone without a partner for a while because of her work with Harvey. He was always so selfish towards her and after this episode i was even more convinced of that.

    But i think it's the writers fault. They never give Donna the upper hand for too long! For example, next week Harvey is getting another love interest (yawn) with Louis' sister. Its in the promo! That's annoying if you ask me! I know Darvey will not happen now and we need some relationship drama before but I was expecting that after Harvey said no to Donna she should be the one getting a ''love interest'', she deserves it so much more!
    If Harvey ends up sleeping with Esther I am gonna find that so cliché and I'm gonna dislike him even more lol. Hopefully he doesn't! Guess we'll have to wait and see next week

    1. Yeah, if he slept with her, it would only be a way to get back at Donna and Louis and that's just a really low blow... It will only serve to drive him even further away from Donna.
      I wonder if Louis' sister will be a recurring character.

    2. if he actually sleeps with his sister, i will kinda start to hate Harvey because that would be such an as*hole move honestly! He would be a jerk in my eyes. And i'm sure that would hurt Donna a lot even if she would not show it. I mean how much more is he gonna hurt her until he realizes she is the one? If i were Donna i would have left the entire firm a long time ago.

  6. Words cannot express how much I am loving Season 5 of Suits.

    I have been surprised by every episode, which is not easy for writers to do after 50+ episodes with the same characters.

    Personally, I would love to see Harvey have a brief relationship with Louis' sister. When I saw the preview I was excited and thought: bring on the drama! Donna, being Donna, would have known that her leaving Harvey would destroy him and she chose to leave him anyway, so I don't feel at all bad for Donna if Harvey and Esther hook up.

    I also wanted to mention that 503 and 501 were both fantastic episodes and I noticed they were both directed by Anton Cropper, so well done to him because there was a noticeable difference in quality compared to 502.

    But mostly, congrats to Aaron Korsh & the writers. I am totally impressed with what they're doing.

  7. wait so you are saying Donna was selfish and wrong to leave Harvey and try to look after herself for once?

    1. Donna definitely was selfish, but people are entitled to be selfish (like you say, to try and look after themselves). Donna left knowing that Harvey would act like Harvey, and she still left because she felt okay with not having a presence in Harvey's life at the time. However ,she may be about to regret it, which might spur her into doing something other than shunning Harvey....because that's not working.

      (I also wanted to mention that I hope Gretchen gets to have some interaction with other characters soon.)