Saturday, September 3, 2016

Suits 6x08 Review: "Borrowed Time" (Keep On Fighting in the Meantime, Non-Stop)

"Borrowed Time"
Original Airdate: August 31, 2016

In the musical Hamilton, Aaron Burr (as well as other characters, but primarily him) asks Alexander Hamilton: "Why do you write like you're running out of time? / Write day and night like you're running out of time? / Every day you fight like you're running out of time. / ... Are you running out of time?" And I always think that's one of the most important refrains throughout the musical because we all face the clock at some point, and we know what that feels like. Whether it's a timed test we have to take or the next birthday we face, we have to accept that certain things end when time runs out. This week on Suits, "Borrowed Time" focuses on that idea on multiple levels and in multiple storylines. Mike is hoping that his time in prison is coming to an end, while Jessica's run-in with Jeff Malone helps her realize that they are also out of time. And on a literal level, the man that Jessica and Rachel are representing is living on borrowed time while he waits for his execution to be delayed.

So let's talk about time (and how the show is also running out of time before the midseason finale), shall we?


Let me preface this review by saying that I really haven't cared for the last few weeks of Suits. I'm finding myself less and less inclined to write reviews because of my ambivalence, and I'm finding Mike Ross to be less and less compelling as a human and character. Remember how prison was supposed to force Mike to examine his life and the decisions that led him to prison in the first place? Yeah, me too. But has he actually managed to become a better version of himself? Or has he stayed precisely and exactly the same? Or, perhaps, has he become even worse?

Mike is supposed to be the protagonist of the series, and sometimes I think that the show forgets that. Especially with Mike in prison and segregated from the rest of the storylines, Harvey has really taken on the title of "protagonist" well this year. He's become a better version of himself, certainly. Look at how he treats Louis and how they understand one another. Look at how he communicates openly with Jessica about their issues. Look at the ways he learns to solve his problems. Mike might be in prison because he refused to turn on his friends, but his friends — ironically enough — are the ones growing because of that decision. 

For all of his time spent in prison and the waxing poetic about how terrible his life is and how burdened he is with the responsibility of being loyal, Mike really is just an entitled character who got what he deserved five years earlier. It's not that I hate Mike, really. It's just that he never really seems to learn from his mistakes or want to change. He wants to make decisions but not live with the consequences; he wants the world around him to work in the way he wants it to. And he wants people to help him all the time. I mean, look at his relationship with Julius. Mike only approaches him when he needs something — when he wants something, really — and demands that it be given to him. When it is not (for often very valid reasons), he throws a fit and insists that Julius shouldn't even offer assistance if he doesn't want to help him out.

It's maddening and frustrating, this version of Mike. I want the Mike who — long ago — realized that the world was broken and messed up and wanted to fix it. His intentions might have been good in trying to protect Kevin at the beginning, but honestly Mike makes the majority of the decisions that he does because he wants to protect HIMSELF. He built up a life that he loves and was accustomed to, and he didn't want anything to threaten that. Mike Ross spent so much of his life feeling worthless that he wrapped his entire identity in a fraud. How do you come back from that? Prison was supposed to be the answer. It was supposed to be the thing that Mike used to recognize who he was apart from being a fraudulent lawyer. 

Instead, that's all Mike does in prison. He keeps doing things — filing documents, giving people advice and representing them, etc. — that a lawyer would do. Here's the one problem though: when Mike gets out of prison, everything about him ever being a lawyer again vanishes. As soon as he steps outside, it's gone. So maybe Mike wants to keep playing pretend as long as he can, and maybe that's understandable. But I'm glad that in this week's episode, he finally cut through all the lies and the stories and admitted to Kevin that he was an informant. I'm glad that the two were able to solve the problem that is the horrible sack of garbage known as William Sutter. And I'm glad that Mike got the chance to talk to Rachel and tell her about Cahill's deal to get him out.

I'm glad Mike seemed to learn a little bit this week about human decency. Now I can only hope that he learns some lessons quickly in prison because when he leaves, he'll need them more than ever.


I love that Jessica and Rachel have had a storyline this season because it makes Rachel more bearable as a character. No, seriously, her scenes with Jessica? I was nodding along and cheering for her. As soon as she picked up the phone and talked to Mike, I was immediately irritated. I really don't ship Mike/Rachel at all, you guys. Can you tell? And the reasoning is something I mentioned in my previous review: Mike and Rachel are, separately, very entitled people who are very myopic. All they see are their problems and when they're confronted with character flaws, they immediately lash out against everyone. But with Mike in prison, Rachel has slowly become a better character. She's taken ownership of a case and responsibility for it. She's learned how to stand up for herself and  she's learned how to be a better lawyer, under the mentorship of Jessica Pearson.

So in this week's episode, Rachel and Jessica manage to get Leonard's execution delayed by having his aunt, who suffers from MS, sign a form saying that in order to attend, she will need more time. The only problem? His aunt does not intend to show up at Leonard's execution. She believes him to be guilty. So Rachel points out this issue to Jessica: if they can't get his aunt to believe he's innocent, how will they convince anyone else?

There is no easy answer, which is something that I like about Suits. There isn't always a nice, clean solution apart from "just keep trying." So that's what the women will continue to do — keep trying and keep fighting.


Jeff Malone reappears in Jessica's life, and the two try to pick up where they left off. Unfortunately, Jeff is not ready to pick their relationship back up even though he does desperately love Jessica. He's returning to Chicago, and has wanted to do that for a while. So was the date they had closure? I feel like yes and no. Jessica has been so knocked down lately, that I think it's hard for her to remember who she is — if she even knows who she is anymore. She's being stretched in all directions, and keeps trying to be strong for the sake of the firm and tough for the sake of her image.

But what I really love about their date is that Jessica isn't afraid to be honest and real with Jeff, and he isn't afraid to do the same with her. He knows that she is a tough businesswoman who is feared and respected because of what she can do in the courtroom. And he loves that ruthless side of her. But the bottom line is that I think the reason Jeff loves her even more is because that's not all she is. She would be worthy of praise and respect if she ran a tight firm with winning records. But she is much more than that. She is kind, and has a good heart. Rachel sees it, and so does Jeff. He loves her because her heart is soft. It's this duality to Jessica that makes her such a dynamic character. And I think it's Jeff's image of her that she needs to hold onto every time she questions who she is and what kind of person she truly is.


I'm not even bothering to look up her name (okay, I did just do that since I don't want to call her "architect lady" for the rest of the review — it's Tara), because this architect lady bugs me and this Louis storyline bugs me. I can't believe that I'm even spending a section talking about it, but here we are: Louis is destined to get his heart broken by Tara. He's already bent to her charms and whims, and he'll continue to do so because when Louis Litt loves, he loves deeply and recklessly. I feel bad for him in that sense, but he's also being kind of stupid in his pursuit of this woman who finds lying romantic and has a quasi-boyfriend who she just picks up after six months.

Seriously, how old is this woman? Why do you have a boyfriend you only see six months out of the year? WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS STORY OTHER THAN TO MAKE DONNA DO AND SAY DUMB THINGS TO HELP LOUIS OUT? Ugh.

As Suits heads into the midseason finale, I'm beginning to feel extremely underwhelmed. The season started out so promising and I probably jinxed it by mentioning just how promising it was. Still, I have hope that maybe — just maybe — a sliver of the show can be redeemed before we break for the next few months.


And now, bonus points:
  • I kept tweeting it throughout the night it aired, but this episode was too neatly tied up. We know some other shoe has to drop in the next episode, otherwise Mike will be out of prison and we'll have to find a new way to integrate him into the firm storylines.
  • Apparently we're getting little snippets of a Donna's recent romantic backstory shoehorned into conversations with Louis. They're coming way out of left field (Donna broke up with a guy because he wanted to live together and she couldn't picture the rest of her life with him), considering we know little to nothing about Donna's personal life these days. Remember when we actually SAW some of her life outside of the firm? It feels like Suits doesn't quite know how or where to integrate her with Harvey darting around with Cahill and Rachel paired up with Jessica. Hopefully the back half of the season will find some way to utilize her, since she's arguably one of the best characters on this show.
  • "In your heart, you're not cold at all."
  • Sutter is the human equivalent of trash.
  • I love Sean Cahill so much. Have I mentioned that enough in these reviews lately? It's so nice to see a humanized version of the character.
  • There has been little to no Harvey/Donna interaction in this first half of the season which is really disappointing. Their relationship is one of the reasons I watch this show.
What did you all think of "Borrowed Time"? Sound off in the comments below!


  1. I honestly think the back six will be focused on Darvey. I believe korsh was telling the truth about Darvey formulating.
    I think it will be Louis to bring them "together".
    It's just my speculation.

  2. Is anybody else seriously impressed with Gabriel Macht, not just for his acting this season but for directing this episode as well? Super talented!