Monday, July 11, 2016

5 Things We Loved in the Suits Season Six Premiere

(Photo credit: USA Network)

This year was the first time that I was able to see an advanced copy of a Suits episode. And in the spirit of sharing and encouraging you to watch the season premiere this coming Wednesday, I thought I would give you a little bit of a teaser of what you can expect. I really loved "To Trouble," because it reminded me of everything this show can be when it is great. It didn't get muddled down in a case-of-the-week, it focused on its central characters and their emotional states in the wake of Mike's absence, it allowed space for a lot of levity and humor that we haven't seen in a while, and it provided some subtle, but good, twists. If this is how the rest of season six will progress, color me excited.

So what else can you expect when Suits returns this Wednesday night? Without giving anything major away, here are five things that I really loved in the premiere. (With bonus dialogue teases!)

5. Jessica Pearson gets vulnerable.

Just as I occasionally forget that Mike Ross is actually supposed to be the central character of Suits and not Harvey Specter, sometimes I forget that Jessica Pearson is more than just the tough lady boss of Pearson Specter Litt. But I'm pleased that in "To Trouble," we get a more layered and nuanced depiction of Jessica, including a vulnerable moment shared between her and Rachel. The moment was so gentle, so vulnerable and so unlike most of what we've seen from Jessica as a character on the show that Meghan Markle's voice actually drops to a whisper. It's not only a rare moment of peace and camaraderie between the two women, but also a chance to see more about Jessica's state of mind in the midst of the firm's abandonment by its employees. If you're a fan of Gina Torres, you'll absolutely love her performance in this episode, and — in particular — the scene that Jessica shares with Rachel.

4. Rachel grows up and smacks truth into the others.

It's no real secret that for years now, I've had a problem with Rachel Zane. While she began the series as a fairly well-developed character, over the years she has begun to become more and more naive in the way that she thinks, acts, and talks to other women. Her relationships with the female characters on the show are often rockier than they are steady, which doesn't really help her likability (especially when she betrays Donna's trust). And the arc that she had with Logan was just abysmal. Slowly but surely, this once confident and whip-smart young paralegal was turned into a shadow of her former self — whiny, needlessly defiant, and often starting arguments just for the sake of starting them.

With all that unpleasantness said, I have to admit that I was apprehensive of how Rachel would behave in the premiere. I can honestly say that her behavior was not only commendable but also very impressive and — I hope — an indicator of how Mike's jail sentence might actually make her a better character. In one scene in "To Trouble," it is Rachel who manages to give a verbal smackdown to Jessica, Louis, and Harvey while they bicker (with Donna behind her, backing her up). It was not dramatic or over-the-top but was a wonderful display of all of the good characteristics Rachel Zane possesses: her strong heart, her love for others, and the unwavering fight within her. Rachel will never accept things the way they are without going to battle first, and hopefully this season will explore more of that.

(Photo credit: USA Network)

3. The juxtaposition between the firm and the jail.

I was wondering exactly how Suits would divide its time between Mike, in jail, and the characters in the firm and I'm hopeful that if the premiere is an indicator of the balance between the two stories, season six will be really well-balanced. Though a decent portion of the episode is devoted to what is happening at Pearson Specter Litt, an important aspect of the premiere is Mike's adjustment to jail. And Mike Ross — pop culture enthusiast — definitely makes a Shawshank Redemption reference. But the problem, as you might surmise, is that Mike's life isn't a movie. And he learns that the hard way.

Still, the balance between what is happening on the outside and what is happening inside the prison was really good. Moreover, things happening inside of the prison affect the people outside of its walls closest to Mike, and vice versa.

2. A final moment twist that will change things for Mike.

I definitely love a good plot twist, and the premiere had a nice one, which I definitely appreciated. I think that what I appreciate most about this Suits storyline — of Mike being in prison — is that it shakes up the show in a way that it desperately needed. I love the law firm and its characters, but this show functions really well when it contrasts two different lifestyles. In the first few seasons we saw a lot of that contrast, between Mike's life with Trevor and then his life at the firm. Prison is an unknown variable that can be used in a lot of different ways to provide a unique source of conflict for Mike and an interesting parallel to the high-power world of law firms. Interestingly enough though, "To Trouble" breaks these two very different worlds down to their foundations and the things that are revealed will have a deep impact on the characters moving forward this season — especially in regards to Mike Ross.

1. Humor has returned at last!

Thank goodness, am I right? With all that has happened in the last few years on the show — between Louis' medical scares, Donna leaving Harvey, his subsequent panic attacks, Mike briefly quitting the firm, the ensuing rivalry between Harvey and Mike, everyone discovering Mike's secret, etc. there has been little time for much levity in the show. The season premiere makes sure that we remember the Suits writers are capable of writing jokes and are confident in their actors as not only dramatic leads but comedic ones. I can't spoil it, and you don't want me to, but there is a scene between Jessica, Harvey, and Louis that will have you cackling. And what the show does in "To Trouble" is this: it uses humor as a way to refocus the series without it undermining the gravitas of the situation the characters are all in. There are definitely some serious moments, trust me. And while there might be funny scenes and witty dialogue, that doesn't mean the characters stop working or caring about the problems around them. I think that it's actually even MORE crucial now that humor return to the show, lest it turn into a heavy melodrama. You'll be glad to hear the quips and watch the funny scenes unfold, trust me.

DIALOGUE TEASES:

  • "I thought he was an idiot."
  • "To trouble." "To trouble."
  • "I didn't come down here to play Pin the Blame on the Harvey."
  • "So crouch your tiger, hide your dragon."
  • "What part of this conversation ISN'T disgusting?"
  • "... I never knew what the ceiling looked like in here..."
  • "Do you ever not quote a movie?"
Suits returns on Wednesday night at 9|8c on USA. Be sure to check it out!

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