Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Suits 6x01 Review: "To Trouble" (So Shame on Me Now)

"To Trouble"
Original Airdate: July 13, 2016

Even when we're able to admit that we've done something wrong, sometimes it's hard to actually face the consequences of our actions. We tell justify the lies we told or the actions we took because if we're able to feel like the good guy in our own story, maybe we'll actually be okay. But that's not what Mike Ross did at the end of last season. Instead of playing the victim and blaming Harvey for his problems, Mike owned up to his actions. He stopped defending himself and started defending his firm — his family. "To Trouble" is a really solid start to this season of Suits, as our main characters wonder exactly what will happen now that Mike is in jail and their firm has crumbled. Harvey, Jessica, and Louis frantically try to fix what feels like a sinking ship while, in prison, Mike makes friends with his roommate and contemplates the actions that led him there.


We'll start off with what's happened at Pearson Specter Litt in the wake of Mike's sentence: it's a ghost town. We knew that from the final scene in season five, but it's even more apparent now that everyone has left — from partner to secretary to custodial staff. To top it all off, Jessica is served with a class-action lawsuit for every case that Mike Ross ever touched. If it seems like things can't get much worse, you'd be correct. And I think that what I love so much about when and how Suits chose to have Mike pay for his secret. We all knew that this was coming. From the pilot, this show has been building toward one inevitable conclusion — Mike Ross, or someone close to him, will pay for what he's done. Mike lost himself a lot as a character within the last few seasons, but his act to save the firm by sacrificing himself is the kind of thing that made me love him in the first place. So obviously now those left at the firm are forced to deal with two sides of that sacrifice: the question of how to live out the generous gift that Mike gave them, but also how to survive in the wake of the destruction he left.

I think that the complex nature of Mike Ross as a person carries over into the firm, especially in this episode. They're all grieving Mike's absence, but at the same time they're having to clean up messes and save themselves BECAUSE of Mike. When he pushes Harvey, in anger, near the end of last season and accuses him of it all being his fault, Mike knows that he is lying. And Harvey knew it, too. Because though he shoulders the blame for a lot of things that Mike's secret did, Harvey also knows that it wasn't his own fraud that landed Mike in jail; it was Mike's. And now, if Pearson Specter Litt falls apart in the wake of Mike's decision, that sacrifice will have been for nothing.

But what's most striking about this premiere is that we actually see how heavy the consequences are on Jessica Pearson, specifically. We've watched her endure backstabbing and heartbreak, but nothing of this magnitude has ever struck her professional life. And it terrifies her to the core that she will not be able to save the empire that she built for herself — that she will have to watch it, along with the people she cares about, crumble into the ground. I love that Jessica got real and vulnerable because yes, this IS a big deal. This is the most chaotic, harrowing thing that could happen. She's lost partners and money and her reputation. So it's understandable, then, that Jessica almost lets it all just slip away. She's tired of fighting — tired of hitting and kicking only to be suckerpunched in the gut and knocked to the ground. 

More than just that, though, Jessica is tired because she's emotionally drained. Everyone thinks her to be this unfeeling, emotionless robot who cares about money and status and is willing to do whatever it takes to get that, no matter what the cost or who she hurts. We're used to seeing ruthless!Jessica Pearson kick butt and take names. But what she reveals to Rachel is really important: Jessica knows that being a woman in power is impossible to navigate. The rules, she argues (accurately) are different than they are for men. She can't coddle people, because being warm means that you're weak. But unfortunately, women can't be too strong either because then they're perceived to be unfeeling. And the fact that she is so powerful and perceives herself to be cold is the reason Jessica argues that everyone left.

It's a really touching scene, actually, because Jessica isn't calloused; she genuinely cares about people. She knows their names and their stories, and she hates the fact that she has to watch people she cares for think that she doesn't love them. I absolutely love all of the Jessica Pearson moments we get throughout the series — the quiet, gentler ones filled with character development.

And then there are the rest of the partners. Harvey is missing Mike, naturally. And so is Rachel. Most of you who have read my Suits reviews know that I'm not too keen on Rachel Zane and haven't been for a few years. In spite of that — and perhaps in spite of myself — I couldn't help but love her in the premiere. Rachel spoke truth to Harvey, Jessica, and Louis when they desperately needed it. She reminded them that the firm is more than their differences and that Mike's sacrifice wasn't so they could stand around and yell at each other for hours on end. He sent himself to prison so that they didn't have to go. And if they don't live out their potential as individuals and a firm, then it was all for nothing.

For the first time since he left, I think that Jessica, Donna, Rachel, Harvey, and Louis finally realize that.


Who else was tickled to watch that entire series of scenes with Jessica, Harvey, and Louis getting high? Not only did it actually end up bonding the partners together (Louis' emotional confession about how he nearly turned him in and Harvey's genuine moment of forgiveness was lovely), but it also reminded me that Suits is capable of being a dramedy. When the series began, that was one of the things that really drew me to it. I loved that Harvey and Mike could trade movie references with one another, and I loved the snappy comedic dialogue that Donna had with everyone. Unfortunately, given all of the affairs and Louis' terribleness for a few seasons, plus Donna leaving and Logan Sanders and Mike's grandmother dying, etc. Suits had all but forgotten about comedy. But I think it's really great — and very important — that the comedy returns in this episode. Because ultimately, this is a show about people who sometimes hate each other, sometimes love each other, and sometimes feel indifferent toward one another learning how to become family, for better or for worse. And family means that you're there for one another in the hard times and in the fun ones.

(Plus, everyone cracked up during those scenes in the premiere too, right?)


There isn't much plot progression in terms of Mike's story in prison in "To Trouble," apart from that final little twist which we'll discuss. However, the most important things that we see in his storyline right now are how he's processing what he's done. Mike Ross is a really complex character and I think that's part of the reason why he's so interesting is because occasionally I don't like him. I don't always root for Mike to succeed, and I think that's okay. Because the truth is, occasionally he can be arrogant and self-absorbed, too proud and confident to believe there's a chance he could fail. And sometimes he's an insufferable know-it-all. That's the Mike we see at the beginning of this episode — snarky, facing prison like it's a movie and not reality. But because we've spent six years with Mike, we know the truth: that's his defense mechanism. It's his way of coping with the hand he's been dealt.

Which leads us into the rest of the episode and Mike meeting his non-roommate, Frank. Mike opens up to Frank, and transitions from hesitancy about keeping ties to his former life (i.e. calling Rachel and talking to her), because he doesn't feel worthy. That's the other extreme of Mike's personality —self-sabotage. He oscillates between feeling like he doesn't deserve to be in prison because he's smarter and better than all of the criminals in there, to feeling like he doesn't even deserve to talk to his fiance.

What's really compelling to me is the fact that in spite of the way he behaves and, you know, the fraud and lies... Mike is actually not a terrible human being. He sacrificed himself in order to save his firm and loved ones. And as he talks to Frank, he realizes that the self-imposed prison he put him in and the punishment he delivers upon himself is much more severe than anything the prison could ever inflict. In spite of it all, Mike has a lot of learning to do in prison. Mostly because he needs to become a better version of himself, and because he needs to realize the crap within him rather than excuse it.

But what's worst of all is that Frank — this seemingly good guy who spends so much time telling his story of imprisonment to Mike and listening to Mike's own story — turns out to be a fraud. Harvey screwed him over, so when he heard Mike would be coming to prison, he decided to feign a friendship in order to get information (oh, and Rachel's phone number). Mike, too trusting and too willing to open his mouth, had to learn the hard way that if he doesn't watch his back, there are plenty of people who will do whatever they want in order to get whatever they want from him.

And while Pearson Specter Litt is trying to build itself up again, Mike Ross is going to have to fight from crumbling.

And now, bonus points:
  • Rachel Zane actually became one of the greatest parts of this episode. She gave a motivational speech that set everyone in line, and I loved it. This Rachel is my favorite kind of Rachel. 
  • "To trouble." "To trouble."
  • Malcolm-Jamal Warner debuts in this episode and he's a delightful character already.
  • What happens when you insult Donna: you awaken angry Harvey. He was ready to punch Louis for insulting her.
  • Even if was an entire episode with Donna, I would still say there's not enough. But there wasn't enough Donna in this episode. (How much did you love her motivational little truth spiel to Harvey, though?)
  • "... I never knew what the ceiling looked like in here..." I don't know why but Gina Torres' delivery of that line had me in stitches.
  • I'll never stop talking about Jessica and Harvey learning Louis' secret, just like I won't stop talking about how he accidentally inhaled Norma's ashes.
  • "I don't know what to say." "You always know what to say." "Not this time."
  • "... Are you a king?!"
What did you think of the Suits premiere? Sound off in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. Before this episode aired, I saw Aaron Korsh's comments that there would be more humor this season, and I When their situation is so serious?
    So, I was very pleasantly surprised at how many laughs the premiere got out of me. Tonight's episode was the one I've been waiting for for some time.

    "Do you even know how to spell fiscal responsibility?"
    "I know how to spell cheap."

    My hopes for this season...

    Harold! The firm is going to need associates and he is always great for a laugh. Really hoping to see him again soon and more often.

    And Jimmy. After he got up on the stand and lied for Mike (and now everyone will know he lied) what has happened to him? I would think he might be fired and looking for a job.

    Gretchen - glad to hear she will be around.

    Harvey - I would like to see Marcus, or even better his mother come back on the show so his only focus this season is not Mike. I doubt that will happen though since they need Mike to stay connected to the story line at PSL.

    (PS does anyone else think that Harvey high is just Gabriel being more like himself? lol)

    Overall, a great start!