Thursday, August 3, 2017

Suits 7x04 Review: "Divide and Conquer" (On the Same Boat) [Contributor: Jenn]

"Divide and Conquer"
Original Airdate: August 2, 2017

It’s no surprise to most that I’ve been finding this season of Suits to be underwhelming at best, and downright frustrating at worst. The past few weeks, Harvey Specter has been an insufferable bulldozer of a leader and I think “Divide and Conquer” is the first time he realizes what a bad thing that can be. As usual, it takes two women to smack some truth into Harvey, reminding him that if he’s not careful, he won’t have a firm to run anymore. Most of the episode is focused though on the idea that in order for Pearson Specter Litt to survive, everyone at the firm has to be on the same team and function as one unit. Even when one member insists they can do it by themselves, it’s the job of the others to step in and take care of the people around them. It’s not in a way that boasts about their successes, but in a way that showcases the truth that people need other people. No one is an island in this firm. As Louis astutely points out, they’re not on an island at all — they’re all in a boat together and the only way they’ll survive is if they stay in the boat together.

So let’s dive into “Divide and Conquer” and talk about the external threats that our team has to weather, as well as some side stories that are presumably brought to the forefront because they’ll be important again soon.


Did anyone else forget that Mike and Rachel are still engaged? I’ll admit that I kind of did. Between the shake-ups and Harvey’s behavior, I haven’t had time to think of their nuptials. Apparently, Rachel hasn’t had time to think either. And that’s why the episode opens with Robert and Rachel touring the potential wedding venue of La Casa de Harvey. After Robert throws around some zingers about Harvey’s bachelor pad, he vocalizes some concern for Rachel. She’s been canceling wedding appointments and putting off setting a date. He’s worried that she’s hesitant about committing to the wedding, but Rachel insists that she and Mike are just really busy with their careers. In a brilliant observation, Robert tells his daughter that if she’s waiting until life settles down to set a date, she’s going to be surprised at what being in a marriage is like.

Even though she seems to be headed toward setting a date — even meeting with a wedding coordinator — Rachel eventually decides that she’s fine with waiting to set one, and Mike is too. Her dad does get on board, but only because it’s his daughter and he really does love Rachel. We’ll talk more about Robert later on, but this was basically the only story Rachel had (apart from seeking out who the leak was within Pearson Specter Litt).


In a plot twist I actually didn’t see coming, it’s revealed at the end of the episode that while Harvey thought Jessica was on his side in the boat, she was really the one drilling a hole in the bottom. Harvey, because he cannot make any decisions without women guiding him apparently, meets up with Jessica near the episode’s beginning to tell her about all of the drama that’s been happening. He finally hits a point where he knows he needs to do something about his firm, or else the ship will start sinking (something Donna tells him to smack some sense into him).

So he approaches the former captain of the ship and she tells him that he already knows what he needs to do in order to keep the firm afloat, and he just has to be willing to do it. The past few episodes, Harvey has been barking orders at people and pulling rank because he thinks just being in charge earns him respect. He finds out quickly at the beginning of “Divide and Conquer” that no one is on #TeamHarvey anymore — not even Donna. She recognizes that he’s acting out of a superiority complex and whether he admits it or not, that’ll lead them all down a path of destruction sooner rather than later. And the “sooner” happens a lot sooner than they want. Thanks to a suggestion from Jessica, Harvey approaches Robert Zane for help, but Zane gives him a tip instead: people are coming for Pearson Specter Litt. And it’s going to be bad.

“People” as it turns out are actually Alex’s old firm, Bratton Gould. They’re not coming though for Alex, as it turns out. They’re coming to take all of Alex’s clients (but most importantly the billables that come with those clients) back from Pearson Specter Litt. And they’re going to do that by slowly destroying Harvey and Louis’ clients. This is where the teamwork comes in though. Harvey gets help from Mike (even though he doesn’t ask) in court, while Louis gets help from Alex (even though he doesn’t ask) with his own client. Both men step in, even when they’re asked not to, because they recognize that the firm should be prioritized. And sometimes Harvey and Louis can’t see the forest for the trees.

Harvey’s genius plan to keep the firm afloat (and to counteract all of the stuff Bratton Gould is about to put them through) is one that Jessica gave him — the idea of a faux merger with Zane’s firm. The two wouldn’t actually merge, but it would give the appearance of one and allow Harvey access to Zane’s associates and paralegals, which would be desperately needed in order to keep their clients out of the hands of Bratton Gould. Robert Zane doesn’t go for the idea of a merger though, with good reason: he gets nothing out of it. Plus, how would it look if Robert Zane merged with a struggling firm? When Harvey asks if he really believes Pearson Specter Litt is struggling, I almost laughed. Robert Zane is a better person than I am, and essentially says that if Harvey has to ask that, he already knows the answer.

Pearson Specter Litt is definitely struggling and each character is trying to keep the tiny portion of their boat afloat. The only way they’re able to do that in this episode is by working together and trusting each other.

While everyone tries to fix the problem in the episode, Alex knows that he is the only one who will be able to. And it’s because he has something his old boss (which Harvey correctly deduces means that his old boss has something on HIM too). Without telling the others, Alex strikes up a deal and Bratton Gould calls off the impending battle. At first, Alex wants to sacrifice himself to save Pearson Specter Litt, but the team refuses — he’s one of them now, and they protect their own. 

Speaking of protecting their own, Harvey learns at the end of the episode who leaked the information about Pearson Specter Litt to Bratton Gould in the first place. It wasn’t the disgruntled associate that Donna fired. It wasn’t even Alex himself. It was… Jessica Pearson. And to be honest, I was actually surprised. Harvey asked Jessica why she did it, and she mentioned that Harvey’s house was divided, and that nothing unites a house like an attack from the outside. Though things worked out in the end for the Pearson Specter Litt team, Harvey warns Jessica that she better not pull anything like that over him again. And it is in this moment that I think I finally saw Harvey as the leader of the firm, not the person trying to play leader.

For the past few episodes, Harvey has been telling people what to do and expecting them just to obey his every whim. Louis has had it. Mike has had it. And Donna has had it. And as Harvey realized this week, being in charge doesn’t earn him respect. Jessica still pulled one over on him, and Robert Zane practically laughed him out the door.

If Harvey wants to captain a ship that doesn’t sink, “Divide and Conquer” was at least a good start.


Donna spends most of the episode trying to put out fires. In all fairness to her, she’s always been good at putting out fires. But for some reason, Donna is frazzled when she’s unable to discover who leaked information about the firm to Bratton Gould. After a heated moment with Rachel, Donna explains that she was given a position of authority by Harvey. People already don’t believe that she deserves her new title, and she cannot make them think that they’re right. I like that this season we are focusing more on Donna’s professional journey and what it means to her than her relationship with Harvey. Even the reasoning for her wanting to succeed in the episode wasn’t about Harvey — it had little to do with letting HIM down and much more to do with letting herself be seen as undeserving by others.

Overall, “Divide and Conquer” is the first solid episode for Suits this season. All the characters were bearable and the plot actually progressed in a way that left me wondering how the firm would continue to survive. Let’s cross fingers that next week, Harvey continues to be a decent leader.

1 comment:

  1. Where are the reviews of the most recent episodes? I have been patiently waiting for weeks...I need your take on what's happening! Please!?