Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Suits 6x14 Review: "Admission of Guilt" (A Show of Force)


"Admission of Guilt"
Original Airdate: February 15, 2017

Mike Ross is not usually my favorite character on Suits. Earlier this season, he was in prison for fraud and I thought that might redeem him. Perhaps he would return to the lovable, kinder version of the character I met in the pilot. But prison didn't change Mike, even though it should have. It seemed like it did when Suits' mid-season premiere debuted — perhaps he would learn his lesson and strive to become a better person who didn't rely on lies to get ahead in life. Alas, this was short-lived. In "Admission of Guilt," we see a very familiar Mike Ross: one who lies to the people he is working with in order to gain something for himself. This week's episode was all about showing force. In order for people to take you seriously, you need to be tough and ruthless. Literally every story this week involves that: Louis enlists the help of Rachel and Katrina to impress a client, Harvey deals with Ethics Dude (I care so little about him that I cannot be bothered to look up his name), and Mike decides to use the resources of his legal clinic to bring down Velocity Data. There is, however, one story that counterbalances all of the lying, business-minded stories in the episode: Donna's which focuses on emotional intelligence and empathy as she and Benjamin work to perfect The Donna.

Let's dive right in, shall we?

SMH, MIKE ROSS


I actually have enjoyed the past few episodes of Suits. But this week, "Admission of Guilt" felt a lot like a return to the show's old format: less focus on the characters, more on a complex, back-and-forth case. I know the show is about lawyers, so we were bound to return to the show focusing on a case-of-the-week again, but after the brief character-centric stories we've had, this felt a bit like a letdown. Furthermore, there was just TOO MUCH happening in this episode. It felt rather disjointed and rushed — like any one of these stories could and should have been a full-fledged episode.

But I digress: if you'll recall from last week's episode, Mike is in. He watched Oliver lose in court and he can't stand sitting by and watching innocent people suffer because he can't defend them. With Harvey's offer still standing, Mike decides to partner with him to bring down Velocity — and, as a result, get himself a shot at becoming a real lawyer. A statement made in this episode, however, is "a show of force." And with that in mind, we return to familiar territory for Mike: lying in order to get the job done. He lies to Oliver and to Nathan about the motives behind him taking on the Velocity case, and at least is willing to admit it to Oliver at the end of the episode. A small bit of growth, I suppose.

Mike's loyalties are still up in the air for me though: he says that he wants to continue to work at the legal clinic, helping people, and not return to his job at Pearson Specter Litt. But is that true? Or is he lying to himself? Because it feels like Mike settles back into his old habits and role rather quickly in the episode, attempting to strong-arm Velocity's CEO into admitting guilt on behalf of the company (going at it solo, then having to have Pearson Specter Litt back him up — or, rather, Harvey back him up). I know that this was the A-story in the episode, but I honestly didn't find myself as invested in it as I did the B/C stories. And that's probably because Mike keeps spinning around this hamster wheel (Harvey too, in a lot of ways) in justifying something bad for the greater good.

We got to see Harvey be more ruthless this episode once Mike affirmed that he was all-in on the plan to take down Velocity and get him a legal license. But there was an important conversation that was had between Harvey and Rachel in which she told him to swear that if things got bad, he would pull the plug on the case and not risk Mike going to jail again. Harvey promised, but eventually did continue with their plan even when it seemed to be risky for Mike.

That's because Mike and Harvey like the risk. They enjoy the rush of almost being caught, and the relief that happens when they win. They're addicted to the thrill of it all, and that was what sent Mike down a spiral that eventually landed him in jail. Although Harvey and Mike have both grow in ways from recent experiences, when they're together, they pretty much throw caution to the wind. It'll be interesting to see what kind of ramifications will result this season from that.

RACHEL AND KATRINA FINALLY GET A STORY TOGETHER


Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't really recall these two ever having a substantial story together that involved just them. Really, the most interesting and engaging scenes in this episode happened during their storyline. With Harvey busy helping Mike, Louis is left on his own to woo a client who Jessica used to personally handle. Still insecure about being left to his own devices, Louis (under guidance from Donna) asks Rachel and Katrina to help him with the presentation for the client. The women come up with a brilliant idea of serving the client the presentation like a nine-course meal, because she's a woman of high taste. Rachel manages to use her caterer for the wedding to cater the presentation, and everything goes smoothly. Rachel and Katrina get along and each take a specific role in the plan. They work well together, and Louis notices that.

... Which is why it really sucks when he confesses to Donna that the client fired the firm after he told her that Rachel and Katrina were star players and she was lucky to have them. It's a rare moment, but Louis is defeated when he approaches Donna and humbled. It's just one more thing Louis adds to the list of why he shouldn't be in charge. And honestly? It was sad to see him so defeated. Louis isn't a terrible person or even a terrible leader sometimes. He just doesn't filter his thoughts or actions far enough in advance to be reminded that they have consequences. Donna blames herself for Louis' action and Louis, of course, blames himself. 

But the most important scene that happens between Katrina and Rachel is near the end of the episode. Rachel and Katrina compliment one another on their teamwork, and then Rachel asks what it was like working for Robert Zane. Katrina waxes poetic about what a great man Rachel's dad is, but Rachel is skeptical so she continues to probe for more information. Katrina does eventually admit that Robert has a temper, but is the best litigator she's ever seen. And then she does something unexpectedly sweet: she tells Rachel how proud Robert Zane really is of his daughter.

Rachel is taken back and gets emotional when Katrina notes that Robert bragged about how his brilliant daughter would soon be working for his firm and would blow everyone else out of the water. Katrina goes on to tell Rachel that she's not relaying this information to make her feel bad — Robert was supportive when Rachel turned down his offer. But with Robert not being a very emotional man, hearing how proud her father is of her from Katrina was super important. It was a lovely little moment of bonding and mutual respect between these women. There is no competition between them in the episode, and they work together to edify one another and play off each other's strengths. Rachel leaves Katrina's office in a really good place, emotionally, and I can only hope we get more #LadiesSupportingLadies stories like this in the future.

THE DONNA LEARNS


Last week, Donna told Benjamin that quippy one-liners weren't what made her the amazing person she was, and in order to be like the well-rounded real Donna, The Donna had to learn how to develop emotional intelligence. Benjamin tries in this episode to get the device to work, but as someone who doesn't have a very high EQ (I assume) himself, Benjamin is struggling to make The Donna work and when Donna tries to compliment him and call him a genius, he breaks. He always assumed he could cut it in Silicon Valley, but it turns out, he's not good enough. 

Instead of blowing up at him for giving up, Donna slows down and shows him compassion. She tells him that if The Donna doesn't work, it's okay. She doesn't care about it more than she cares about him: a real, live human being. That, of course, is what makes Donna such an incredible character. She genuinely cares about people. She doesn't use the people in her life to get ahead or get what she wants. Donna gives everyone honest, occasionally brutal advice. She is perceptive and emotionally invested in the lives of the people she cares about. She doesn't just hear — she listens. And finally, at the end of the episode, The Donna gives a guilt-stricken Donna a compassionate pep talk.

Donna is floored at the program's progress, and so am I! I honestly have no idea what the show will do with this little device or Donna's story, but I'm really grateful to see her interacting with different characters and having a storyline that is all her own. 

"Admission of Guilt" crammed a lot into one episode, and it ended with Harvey displaying the full force of his power against Ethics Dude. Will Mike get his law license? Will he and Rachel actually get married this season? What will The Donna be used for? Here's to hoping that the show will answer these questions and more in the coming weeks!

And now, bonus points:
  • "No one awesome listens to Enya."
  • I'm starting not to like Nathan, although in this episode he did have the right to be upset and skeptical of Mike's motives. Conversely, I'm liking Oliver more and more.
  • "Louis, did you just call me 'chocolate'?"
  • Harvey and Donna's banter is always adorable and adding The Donna into the mix is even better.
  • Louis trying to get people to go mudding with him will never get old.
  • "I should promote you both right now!" "Will you?" "No." "Worth a try."
What did you all think of this week's episode? Sound off in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. In this episode, I loved Mike's mentoring of Oliver...it is very much like when Harvey got Mike involved in shady stuff right in season 1 while also trying to give him a hand up and making Mike learn the hard way at times (for example when Oliver is touching Harvey's records, that was amusing and reminiscent of Harvey teasing Mike back in the day).

    I am enjoying this season but I really miss Harold! Bringing him back would've been a great way to introduce more humor.

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