Thursday, January 28, 2016

Suits 5x11 "Blowback" (Pearson Specter Litt and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day)

Original Airdate: January 27, 2016

The most fascinating thing to me about Suits is how much it mirrors its former comedic USA counterpart, Psych. When Shawn Spencer — someone who spent the series lying to people and faking being a psychic for the Santa Barbara Police Department — is caught by his girlfriend Juliet and confronted, he justifies his lies and his crimes, noting that for all of the lies he’s told, hundreds of really bad people have been put behind bars. He’s helped families and rescued innocent people. And he’s put away the real criminals. Does it really matter HOW he did it, then?

We’re so used to seeing characters on television who are cut-and-dry heroes, especially if they’re the protagonists of the show. But what happens when these same characters do bad things in the name of good? What happens when Mike Ross gets arrested because of fraud, but he’s spent the past five years helping people and making their lives better? Mike, surprisingly enough, doesn’t try to really justify his actions in “Blowback.” When it all comes down to it, HARVEY is the one telling Mike that all of his lying has helped people. Mike, on the other hand, isn’t so sure.

And with Mike’s future on the line, everyone at Pearson Specter Litt is caught in the crosshairs.


If you’ll recall from the end of “Faith,” Harvey agreed to resign so that Charles Forstman would stop backing Daniel Hardman. It was a move that Jessica vehemently disagrees with but one that Harvey made all the same. Moreover, his decision has really convoluted consequences in “Blowback,” as he has to try to appear like a practicing attorney for Anita Gibbs but can’t be at the firm because of Forstman. Normally, this situation wouldn’t be as much of an issue as it is, but with Mike arrested for conspiracy to commit fraud, Harvey has difficulty figuring out how to best help Mike and himself.

I really liked the version of Harvey Specter that we saw in this episode. He wasn’t completely and totally unhinged, like when Donna was threatened with a jail sentence. But he was kind of scrambling throughout most of the episode and not at the top of his game. The reason, of course, is that Harvey had to plan each move he made extremely carefully, so as to not alert either Anita or Forstman. But what I found to be most compelling of all was Harvey’s insistence that Mike Ross was a real lawyer. I know that he had to commit to this in order to ensure that everything looked legitimate and there was no cause for doubt about being a co-conspirator, but I think that Harvey’s hope here is that the more he repeats that to himself, the more he will start to believe it is truth. If you tell a lie to yourself over and over again, you start to believe it. Trust me, I’ve done it.

And Harvey wants to believe that Mike is in the right — that they ALL are — while Mike isn’t as certain. He tells Harvey that what he did was wrong. He knows his actions have consequences and now he’s watching the people around him pay. While Harvey waxes poetic, Mike vocalizes the truth: he is a fraud. He never went to Harvard and he never passed the bar, and he’s going to be found out. No amount of sugar-coating can erase the fact that he isn’t an actual lawyer.

Rachel, meanwhile, is spiraling pretty hard at the news of Mike being arrested. And so, she enlists her father to become his attorney. It’s clear from the first encounter in that jail cell that Robert Zane is anything but pleased to represent Mike and Mike isn’t too keen on seeing him either. Because he knows that he’ll have to confess what he’s done and Robert will not take that very well.

Spoiler alert: he doesn’t take it well!

In fact, Robert Zane pretty much says that unless Mike turns on Harvey, he won’t help him out. And the kicker, of course, is that Robert is actually glad Mike will be in jail — he would have threatened for Mike to stay away from Rachel if he wasn’t. But just as Robert’s conversation doesn’t go well with Mike, so too, he finds, it does not go well with Rachel either.

Rachel is adamant that she is staying by Mike’s side. She’s not throwing away her future with him, and Robert doesn’t understand why. He believes that she is better than this, but he also believes that whatever mistakes he has made in his past are less offensive than the fraud Mike is committing in the present. In spite of all of her fears and misgivings, Rachel tells her father she is going to be with Mike, whether he likes it or not. And Robert says that he can’t help her anymore as a result.

I’ve never been entirely sold on the idea of Mike and Rachel romantically. They’re okay in the best circumstances and sometimes just downright dumb together in the worst (come on, that cheating storyline was the living worst and you all know it). Rachel’s naiveté is the very stuff that Claire warned about before. I guess, honestly, I don’t really understand WHY Rachel is sticking with Mike. Yes, she loves him but she certainly wouldn’t be the first person to ever walk away from someone she loved in order to protect her own best interests. Though I don’t agree with Robert Zane’s approach, he makes a pretty good point.

A point, in fact, that is echoed in a lot of “Blowback”: at what point do you stop protecting someone else and start trying to protect yourself first? Jessica’s main job is to protect her firm and the people within it. But sometimes, that means protecting the firm first and people second. She knows that she cannot get her hands dirty with Mike Ross’ problems because she’s putting other people — HER people — on the line if she does. And her people are on the line, so is she.

And Jessica already has enough of her own problems, with Jack Solaff trying to vote her out during a time of transition in the firm. So Jessica enlists the help of Louis to solve that particular problem.


Louis Litt is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever watched on television. He’s shrewd and ruthless, but also a giant teddy bear. He’s played the victim and the villain and the hero and the damaged soldier. He’s been the most sympathetic character and the most feared one. And often times, he’s betrayed the people he cares about for fear that they don’t care about him back. Louis does things to get attention and he’s not above using and manipulating in order to do that.

But in “Blowback,” Louis realizes the true meaning of sacrifice. Jessica assumes that Louis is going to try to undermine her during her time of weakness, but she is sorely mistaken (though not wrong to assume that if Louis asked to be managing partner, it would be for good reason). No, the most important thing regarding Louis that happens in this episode is the fact that he willingly lets Donna go back to Harvey. And she understands the sacrifice and love it takes for him to do that. He doesn’t want to lose her. At all.

And yet, Louis knows how the one thing Harvey needs to be at the very top of his game is still missing. So he sends Donna back, and he mourns having to let her go. But throughout the episode one thing is clear — Louis wants to protect Donna at all costs. He knows that he will probably be implicated in some way, shape, or form if Mike is convicted. And he can’t prevent that from happening. But he CAN tell Donna to stay out of Mike and Harvey’s business so that she doesn’t doom herself, too.

Louis realizes that family protects one another. And yet, at the same time, he also realizes that sometimes you have to put yourself first. Rachel and Donna, though, can’t do that. They won’t walk away and let the people they love suffer. That’s just not who they are. Donna knows though that Louis’ sacrifices are genuine and not self-serving. She conveys her deep appreciation for him. I love the parallelism in how Donna left Harvey because she knew that she deserved better; and in the end, Louis let Donna go because he knew where she needed to be.



Before I proceed, let’s all dwell for a moment on the reaction Harvey had to Donna coming back to him. His face was full of such subdued joy and I think everything within him was holding back from hugging Donna in that moment. It’s not Suits without Harvey and Donna together. And, in spite of the fact that I really appreciate what the story did for each of their characters, I am glad they’ve returned to “normal.”

When you fight battles, you need to fight them alongside people you love and trust. There is no way Harvey can ever be at his absolute best without Donna beside him — the woman who challenges him, inspires him, motivates him, and grounds him when he allows his ego or anger to cloud his judgement. Throughout the first part of season five, we watched these two grow and face some of their problems without one another. I think that was absolutely necessary. Donna needed space to be reminded that she is her own person — without Harvey — and that she can do real good beside Louis. Working for him allowed her to have a voice and it really changed the way Louis acted as a person and how he saw others. Without her guidance, he would have been lost. Harvey’s Donna-less existence allowed him the chance to explore some of the deeper issues that have held him back for so long. The only way he could do that is if he was in the most emotionally vulnerable place. And he was. When Donna left him, Harvey was broken (almost beyond functionality), and he knew that he had to deal with his problems. He couldn’t run or hide anymore.

After therapy, Harvey actually learned to value Donna as a person. He thanked her for her loyalty to her, and set aside his bitterness and pain long enough to see her for who she was — his partner, constantly being emotionally distanced because of his fears. When Harvey’s walls came down, it allowed him to become a better person and set the stage for a Harvey/Donna reconciliation. Though all of their problems are not solved and they still need to work through their issues, the fact remains that they had to be apart so they could be the best versions of themselves when they got back together.

When Harvey realizes that Donna is returning to him, it’s clear that there is a sense of relief. She’s his port in the chaos, and he needs her (yes, remember, he did say this a few seasons ago) to be the best he can be for Mike. The resolution of this scene is pretty lovely, too, with no more words necessary than “good” from each (and them fighting the biggest grins because SERIOUSLY YOU TWO, BE MORE IN LOVE).

At the end of “Blowback,” everything is not resolved, but everything is right. And that’s the most you can hope for when it comes to a Suits episode.

And now, bonus points:
  • “You’re gonna let HER go down there?” My thoughts exactly though, Harvey.
  • Donna’s emotional response and fear over thinking that something happened to Harvey was so heartbreaking. Since Louis told her to sit down, the first thing she thought of was Harvey.
  • Mike’s photographic memory has become more and more of a plot point recently. I appreciate that since this whole series was kind of founded on that concept.
  • Ugh, Scottie returned.
  • Any episode that features Gabriel Macht boxing is a good episode.
  • “You sayin’ you’re coming back to me?” “Yes I am.” “Good.” “Good.”
  • “Get the... YOU READ LORD OF THE RINGS?!”
  • I hope this show never stops referencing Louis’ mudding.
What did you all think of the Suits winter premiere? Hit up the comments below and let me know!


  1. I loved this episode. It had every element of Suits that I adore. Jessica was fierce. Louis was at his most precious. The bromance of Mike and Harvey. And of course the Darvey of it all. Rachel, as usual, was the weak link, but even she managed to pull through in the end. Can't wait to see where we go from here!

  2. I liked a lot what you wrote about Rachel and Mike because I agree with you. I mean I root for them together and all but the truth is that sadly no one really cares about them as a couple. The ''real'' couple and we all know this is Darvey! So I hope they don't make a big deal out of ''uhhh is rachel gonna stay by mike's side? are they going to break up?'' because wtv...let's just hope they get Mike out of this mess! But let us not forget that he is actually guilty and rooting for him to get away with it is a bit of a confusing feeling to have for me tbh

    I love Louis this episode! His gesture was so great and he was a team player for once. You go Louis!!!!

    As for Harvey and Donna...I mean yeah I am glad they are back together but I hope that doesn't mean that it will be like before and the chances of them being together are over. It has been 5 years! For the love of all that is sweet and pure writer please grow a pair and finally get them together. Like enough is enough after this season!

    Great review as always I'm glad you keep writing them :)

    1. just a precision : *i am hoping the chances of them being together ROMANTICALLY together as a couple are not ruined by the fact that they have rekindled their professional relationship.

  3. Another great episode!

    Interesting that there was no panic attack for Harvey. I guess we might have seen the last of Dr. Agard.

    Prediction: season finale has Harvey being arrested. Then I really want Scottie to be his lawyer. Imagine the tension this would create? Great TV ;)

    I hope they manage to weave in some more humour in the next 5 episodes. One of the best scenes from this premiere was when Jessica visited Louis when he was mudding.

    Jessica: "Maybe next time."
    Louis: "Really?!"
    Jessica: "No."

    I was hoping that Robert Zane might have stayed as Mike's lawyer for a bit longer, the writers really could have created some great drama with that but I think they will be struggling to fit all this drama into a six short episodes!

  4. Someone please explain this to me…as a canadian law student I might be a bit lost in US law. What evidence does Gibbs actually have to start an investigation against Mike or keep him arrested? He is in the bar, Harvard data base etc. What just the word of the person who sold him out? That’s not enough I believe lol. Hope they elaborate more on that…

    Also, didn’t Louis say when he discovered the secret that there is no evidence of Mike Ross graduating from anywhere before law or having an undergrad degree from anywhere? You need to have an undergrad to go to Law school in the US so wouldn’t that be enough proof to actually convict him? I feel like the writers are missing some legal points here but maybe I’m wrong! Someone please explain! Thanks

  5. My fav part of this review is the "ugh scottie is back" lol
    glad Darvey is back although i think I'm ready to get over them, regrettably I am certain they will remain in a platonic dynamic until possibly the end of the series. anyways looking forward to the coming episodes to see the donna/harvey flashbacks.
    Also curious who people think turned him in, I am so certain it was Katrina Bennet, she had every right.

  6. The winter premier was amazing. Great episode. Suits is an amazing show!
    Of course my favorite part was the darvey reunion. I don't believe darvey will be platonic forever, but Aaron korsh loves to tease the viewers.
    Seriously can the music coordinator be anymore of a darvey fan?! He/she always uses romantic themed music in the background.

    My prediction: darvey gets married so they don't have to testify against each other.
    Or is that just in my dreams? Lol

    I seriously love your reviews. You really understand the depth of the characters and their relationships.

    I'm honestly trying to figure out who turned mike in?!
    I come down to 3

    Professor Gerard

  7. And donna is on my list of suspects only because she wasn't on the list of suspects on USA network website. Lol

  8. I believe it was Sheila who turned Mike in. She seems like the type of person to do the right thing and she would never guess that Louis was in on it.

    1. But i think Sheila would have contacted Lois and been like, this is whats up and you should leave the firm before it comes down. Although she is my second top suspect, and I'm sure the story line will be that she got curious how louis become name partner after he left.
      My top suspect is Katrina Bennet

      -First off she got the job at Pearson Hardman at the time for a bargain of Not turning Mike in for breaking privilege, hence she has witnessed him being shady before.

      -she is present at the firm when Mike leaves law in S4 (making no sense from her p.o.v because she knows what a valued asset he was at the firm, and how much he loved the law, how committed he was to a cases, most importantly that he was not a greedy wall street animal …so what was the motive for him to leave law for investment banking…none)
      -Then she is there when he comes back to the law firm to be a lawyer

      – She is also a witness to Lois almost fired/leaving and then shortly after making name partner through something he has over the other name partners which he tell Katrina he can’t tell her. So she knows there is something within the firm (whether its a past event, current situation dosent matter) that is powerful enough for a Lois type of character to Leverage Jessica Perason and Harvey Spector

      Its possible that the back story will be that Katrina interacted with someone where the name mike ross came up, considering there are a lot of Lawyers in NYC who payed him to write the law exam for him..or maybe she had a case with Clair and as they talked maybe the topic of Katrina previously working at PSL came up, in which case Clair would say “oh i just had a case with them rachel/mike” and Katrina would praise them, and Clair knowing the truth may say something that hints it to Katrina to re-examine Mike and figure it out.

      Since she used to work at the US Attorneys office she would not be shy to tip them off. and she would have deff known Harvey was in on it, so she would have directed them there, probably even stating "Harvey Hired a Fraud" Vs. "Mike Ross is a fraud"

  9. Late to the party as usual. LOVED your review as usual =P

    I agree with basically all of what you've written: characters were strong, story line is compelling, Jessica and Louis were awesome, Harvey was understandably shaken and yet still keeping it together for everyone else, Darvey were BEAUTIFUL...and Rachel was a bit annoying.

    I will say that though I had to bite my tongue to keep from giggling uncontrollably at the wonderful Darvey scene...I am a bit worried about this. Donna left for a reason. Everything that happened in 4x15-16 happened for a reason. These two have admitted their love for each other and Donna knew she had to leave Harvey's desk if she had any hope of either having a relationship with him or getting over him completely. She knew he was taking her for granted and she knew it wasn't healthy for her. I hope she hasn't forgotten all of this. As much as I love that they're getting back together...I don't want them to be a one step forward, two steps back thing. I don't want them going back to exactly how it was as if 4x15-16 never happened. As long as there is a notable change in their relationship/dynamic I will be happy.

    I literally cannot describe how torn I am about this development though. Like on one hand I'm afraid it'll be back to old Darvey which was awesome but come on guys IT'S BEEN FIVE SEASONS. On the other hand, I am already fantasizing about Donna strutting up to her old desk with two coffees, fixing Harvey's tie, engaging in witty repartee OR EVEN BETTER, Harvey strutting off the elevator with a huge-ass smile on his face like he's the king of the world a la Louis in 2x09.

    I don't know what I feel. I think as a fan of the show I'm pleased because this was a strong episode and I honestly can't wait to see how they get out of this and move on to another whole season. As a Darvey fan I'm disappointed that this incredible story line had to come right in the middle of Darvey taking steps to change their relationship and cause them to go back a phase.

    Ok I think I've ranted enough. Hope to be here on time next week =)

    1. If they don't finally get together at the end of this season I think I'm gonna give up on the show. I don't know for me they make the show, the two of them and this will they won't they teasing is starting to annoy me. Especially since the wait between the seasons is so long. So I guess we'll have to see how this massive challenge they are facing with Mike will impact their relationship as a possible couple

    2. I feel you. I don't need them to get together as such, but I absolutely need some notable steps forward. At this point I am very afraid that everything is going to go back to how it was as if everything from 4x15 onwards never happened. Donna will do everything for Harvey and not worry about how it affects her and Harvey will start taking that for granted. Please don't let this happen!!