Thursday, August 4, 2016

Suits 6x04 Review: "Turn" (Time for a Prison Break)


"Turn"
Original Airdate: August 3, 2016

We all have an attribute or two that people know and define us by. When I was in high school, my newspaper class voted me “Most Reliable.” It was because I showed up (and still do, in both a literal and metaphorical sense), and was always there for people. So reliability became my defining trait throughout that year for a lot of people, just like loyalty has become the defining trait of Mike Ross in Suits. Even before “Turn,” Mike’s often stubborn sense of loyalty was the thing that the people in his life defined him by. Similarly, the other characters are defined by singular character traits throughout the episode — Harvey by his persistence, Donna by her compassion, Rachel by her relentlessness, Louis by his fixation on a task, and Jessica by her ruthlessness. While “Turn” was an episode that I liked significantly less than the past few weeks, I enjoyed it still and found it to be more character and plot-progressive than Suits tends to be.

BOY, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY


Mike’s unwavering loyalty to Kevin begins to grate on Harvey, and not because he’s jealous that Mike found a new prison BFF, but because Mike is potentially throwing away his future to protect someone he just met. As much as Harvey rants and rails against that kind of loyalty in this episode, it’s Donna who gently — but firmly — reminds him that Mike’s loyalty is the very reason none of them are in jail in the first place. I would surmise that the reason Mike is so unwavering in his loyalty is two-fold: he’s pragmatic and he knows what it’s like to feel alone. First, Mike is pragmatic. In this instance, more so than any other, he knows that having someone he can trust and who trusts him in prison is crucial, especially because Frank Gallo is trying to kill him. But secondly, in any instance, I think that Mike is more loyal than the average person because he knows what it feels like to be alone. He was orphaned at a young age and grew up trying to take care of the people he cared about. He was loyal because he always needed to be.

But that loyalty is put to the test this week when Harvey breaks Mike out of jail. Yes, you’ve read that correctly: Harvey breaks Mike out of jail. Now, this isn’t some sort of Prison Break scenario. Rather, Harvey gets Sean Cahill to pull strings and have the prison cook drug (yes, you’ve read that correctly) Mike so they can sneak him out for a few hours in order to convince him to turn on Kevin. Understandably, Mike is horrified and confused when he realizes that Harvey literally drugged him in order to see reason. And where does Harvey take Mike directly after their little prison break? Straight to Rachel, of course. It’s a last-ditch effort on Harvey’s part to get Mike to actually see what he would be giving up if he stubbornly clung to his loyalty.

Mike has reason to be hesitant of course. Frank Gallo has already tried to kill him once, and it’s only because of Kevin that he did not. Sean is not at the top of Mike’s “to trust” list, and that’s understandable. Mike has to think strategically — if their plan to get him out of prison by ratting on Kevin fails, then Mike is a dead man walking with no one to protect him. But when Mike sees Rachel and spends time with his fiancĂ©, apparently his tune changes and he’s willing to gather intel on Kevin in order to get himself out of prison. I hold fast to the idea that Mike and Rachel have some sort of plan up their sleeves or mutual understanding, because Mike’s decision seems rather quick and abrupt. I can’t imagine that Suits will get him out of prison within the first few episodes, but I’ve been wrong before.

We haven’t yet talked a lot about Harvey, but it’s important to discuss how guilty and responsible he feels for Mike being in prison in the first place. In an emotional scene with Donna, he confesses that he feels burdened because he’s the reason Mike is in prison and he’s also the reason Mike is fearing for his life in there. Donna, sweet and precious, stands by and watches as Harvey gets emotional and blames himself over and over. I kind of love this side of Harvey, I can’t lie. I love that we’re seeing him break down more and more of those walls that keep him so isolated and guarded. I love that because of Mike’s situation and the fact that he’s in there instead of Harvey, we see Harvey become more deliberate about his guilt and his emotions. When he begins to yell at Donna, she fights back (as always), but instead of a knock-out, drag-out yelling match between them, Harvey — and kudos to Gabriel Macht for this — begins to get teary-eyed and talks about his feelings with Donna. Then we see her face slowly crumple into pain with him. It’s a beautiful and powerful moment because finally after all of these years, Harvey is getting real and vulnerable and accepting his consequences.

Now, there’s a fine line between accepting the burden of your guilt and self-inflicting that guilt upon you unnecessarily (which I think Harvey is dangerously close to doing — hello, he almost punched Sean Cahill in the face because he was trying to protect Mike), but I love that this story has allowed us not only to grow in what we know to be true of Mike Ross’ character, but also Harvey Specter’s. I think that so far, it was a smart choice on the part of the writers to separate Mike and to — as I noted last week — watch the other characters come to terms with what that means for them as individuals.

RACHEL ZANE, UNLIKELY HEROINE


Apart from the moments where she and Mike reunited, Rachel was really awesome in this episode. Brief and related aside: I really don’t like Mike/Rachel. I think that their relationship is duller than watching paint dry, and it’s no fault of the actors themselves because they really do have chemistry. I just think Mike and Rachel as a couple always have the same arguments and come to the same decisions and then make the same mistakes over and over again.

Case in point: Mike lying to Rachel because apparently he didn’t learn the first five hundred times he did and I’m really tired of men lying to women on this show because they think they’re protecting them from something, be it anger or heartbreak or whatever. Eventually Mike tells Rachel the truth about why he’s there because Rachel isn’t dumb — she knows Mike is lying to her but she doesn’t really care if it means she gets to spend a few hours with him.

Rachel’s relentlessness is one of her most admirable qualities. When she begins work on The Innocence Project and becomes so consumed with her work that she forgets to think about Mike for like, ten seconds of her day, Rachel becomes upset. And who’s there to comfort her? Perfect red-haired angel, Donna Paulsen. Donna reassures Rachel that taking her mind off of Mike is a healthy and good thing for her. The more she becomes absorbed in doing the work he would want her to do, the more time will pass and the shorter two years will seem. That’s all well and good, but Rachel isn’t quite sure so she calls the prison and pretends that she and Mike are working on the case together because it makes her feel connected to him and also like she can move forward with her life and career while he’s in prison. It’s a nice moment, but it’s not my favorite because Rachel mourning Mike is natural but it also presents Rachel Zane: Love Interest in Need of Her Man, while I really care about Rachel Zane: Woman Who Smacks Men Into Their Place for Underestimating Her.

When Rachel meets her death row inmate, they immediately spar — and with just cause: he finds out she’s just a law student, and she doesn’t like being treated as if she’s less than she is. Flash forward to Rachel strolling into the faculty lounge and confronting her professor about believing the man to be innocent. Her professor then launches into an insulting spiel in which he tells her that he chose her because she’s smart, not because she would believe the first sob story she heard from an inmate about being innocent. He’s disappointed in how she missed the entire point of him choosing her, and she stands there and takes his barbs like a woman and then flips the script: she did her homework. In fact, there are two full boxes of evidence as to why she believes the inmate to be innocent. The professor is taken aback, but then quickly recovers in humility and tells her that he has reading to do. Rachel strides out of the room like the fierce queen that Jessica Pearson taught her to be, and I rejoice.

I’ll keep caring about Rachel Zane as long as Suits keeps writing THIS Rachel. And speaking of Jessica Pearson, essentially her storyline in this episode boils down to her facing off with jerk trader Stu, and using her position in order to make him cower and give her what she wanted. The thing about Jessica is that you just don’t mess with her. You don’t. If you do, it’s not a matter of whether or not you’ll lose a limb — it’s a matter of which one. Her firm is her family and her strength is in her ability to let no one, man or woman, threaten her and get away with it.

Overall, “Turn” wasn’t the greatest episode of Suits but it is still pointing in a positive direction. The show’s decision to shake up its stories is working in its favor, and the characters are reaping all of the benefits. That’s the kind of change I can get on board with.

And now, bonus points:
  • I didn’t talk about it above, but Louis basically has a storyline where he falls in love with the architect he wants to redesign the firm in order to separate the traders from the Pearson Specter Litt crew. And she seems delightful, so I want this to work for him. But this is Suits, after all, so it probably won’t.
  • WHAT DID KEVIN DO TO LAND HIM IN PRISON?
  • Harvey saying to Mike that he’s giving him “a chance to get [his] life back while it still looks the same,” was really good.
  • “You peed on my catchphrase?”
  • “Donna, you’re a genius.” “I know.”
  • “Why do I even?” In which Donna speaks for all of us, all the time.
  • I really love that Neal McDonough has left one show I watch, only to return to another show I watch.
  • I want Jessica to rip Stu’s face off.
  • “Gretchen, calm down. You’re overreacting like a crazy woman.”
  • “Are you insane? You broke me out of PRISON?”
  • "You mess with me again and I'll not only kick you out of these offices; I'll put you in the ground."
What did you all think of “Turn”? Sound off in the comments below!

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