Thursday, September 15, 2016

Suits 6x10 Review: "P.S.L." (One Last Time)

Original Airdate: September 14, 2016

At my day job, I work in a marketing department. And recently, I had the chance to attend a social media seminar at a local college that focused on cultivating ambassadors for your brand. But there was something really interesting that was said during the seminar: if you don’t remember why you cared about your organization in the first place and joined it, no one else will either. You have to remember the reason why you chose to get into the profession you did, and only once your passion is expressed, other people will begin to get on board your organization and its brand. That is what struck me and resonated with me at the end of “P.S.L.” (which no, does not stand for “pumpkin spice latte”). Jessica Pearson walked away from her company because she realized that she was no longer a lawyer for the right reasons. She had lost sight of why she became one in the first place. So she walked away.

I’ll admit that I was shocked at this, and at a few of the revelations throughout the episode. And after weeks of not caring about these characters and the plot, I’m happy that “P.S.L.” managed to focus on the characters of the firm, and included progression for a lot of them in a lot of ways. If you’re ready to dive in, let’s discuss the Suits summer finale!


The giant elephant in the room, of course, at the end of last week’s episode is: “What’s going to happen to Mike now?” Suits’ decision to reveal Mike’s fraud and send him to prison during the first half of this season was risky, and only paid off in the beginning episodes. As I noted in my review last week, Mike really doesn’t seem to have learned anything during his time behind bars. He comes out the same entitled young man we saw enter. And of course, since Patrick J. Adams is kinda the lead of the series, we all knew that Mike would be back, front and center, in some capacity. The question was, now that everyone knows that Mike isn’t a lawyer, how would he be re-integrated into the stories of the firm?

At the episode’s open, Harvey offers Mike a deal to come back to Pearson Specter Litt in a consulting capacity. He wouldn’t technically be a lawyer anymore, but he would be making the same amount of money and would be in the same place. It would be like nothing at all changed. Except that Mike, to his credit, knows that something probably has to change if he’s ever going to grow up and stop making the same mistakes that got him convicted in the first place. So he politely refuses Harvey’s deal, but Harvey tells him to think about it for a few days and then, once he has had the chance to mull it over, come back with a response.

I liked that Mike grappling with his decision to return to the firm in a consulting capacity wasn’t at the forefront of this episode. “P.S.L.” was all about Jessica Pearson, and having Mike’s story be the center wouldn’t have felt right. Instead, we got to see a quieter, more sidelined Mike Ross and if I’m being completely honest, I’m really happy about that. Mike has been the center of the first half of the season, and most of it fell apart because his character fell apart. He learned nothing while in prison, and was in and out within the course of three or so weeks. There was no rehabilitation while in there, and Mike needs time to process what happened and the undeserved gift he was given by the people who fought hard to get him out.

I know that Mike will get more screentime in the winter half of the season, but I was totally okay with his role in this episode just being that of the supportive fiancé and the slightly-grappling-with-my-future character. That kind of Mike Ross is the kind I can get behind.


I have been rolling my eyes so hard at this whole love triangle that Louis has been ensnared by, thanks to Architect Lady. (Tara? Is her name Tara? I seriously care so little about her that I forget every episode and then am momentarily baffled whenever a character mentions her by name.) Anyway, Tara tells Louis that she’s pregnant, but that he isn’t the father and she’s carrying the child of her only-together-six-months-out-of-the-year boyfriend. Louis, in a moment of haste, tells her that he doesn’t care whether or not he’s the father — he loves her, and he wants to be with her. And Donna, wisely, tells Louis that he often makes hasty decisions, then goes back on his word later on. She’s right, of course, and he knows that she’s right. But the difference here is that Tara has a baby. He would never go back on his word if a baby was involved. While that’s admirable, it also puts Louis in a really problematic situation.

So Louis does what only Louis would to do prove that he’s all in: he proposes. And Tara accepts. When I asked last week about how long Mike had been in prison, someone commented that it had been about three weeks. Even if we’re being generous here and saying that Mike was in prison for a month, that means Louis and Tara have been together… for less than a month. And not only is he already proposing, but she’s already accepting. I have no earthly idea what’s happening in this storyline, but I know that Louis making rash decisions never works out in the long run. And I’d suspect that some of the anger he projected onto Jessica when she announced her resignation is actually just that — projection. I hope that he and Tara can work out whatever weird relationship they have, because I would hate to see Louis get his heart broken by a woman yet again.

Speaking of heartbreaking women...


In a startling (I didn’t think Suits could surprise me anymore, and here we are) decision, Jessica Pearson stepped away from her firm and handed the reins over to Harvey and Louis. I was reading this morning that Gina Torres chose to exit Suits because of personal reasons that necessitate her being in Los Angeles. So I appreciate the way that Jessica was written off, and the way that Torres chose to quietly exit the series in favor of taking care of herself. So many series this year have had strong women axed or written off in favor of propping up men (I’m looking at you, Sleepy Hollow), and Jessica Pearson was such an integral part of Suits. She’s a strong woman of color in a field dominated by (primarily) white men.

In the season premiere, we got to see Jessica express that to Rachel, and the two discuss how being a woman is difficult to navigate — if you’re too strong, they think you’re heartless and cold; if you’re too soft, they think you’re weak. Jessica always had this incredible drive and passion behind everything she did, and she’s one woman who you immediately knew you should never mess with. Gina Torres commands a room with her presence, and she brought immense poise and grace to this really complex woman. I didn’t always love the things Jessica chose to do, but I always understood WHY she did them. Her firm was her family, and she did everything she could to protect that family. But somewhere along the way, the drive to compete and to survive chipped away something in Jessica, and it’s in “P.S.L.” that we see her struggle with which side of herself she should listen to — the girl who wanted to be a lawyer to change the world, or the woman desperate to save her failing business.

I thought it was especially poignant and powerful in the premiere that Jessica quietly confessed that she wasn’t sure she had the strength to pull herself — and her firm — back up again. And I respected that admission because it revealed that even Jessica has a limit; even she cannot always save the day. Even she has a breaking point. It’s in this episode that Jessica hits hers, and we get flashbacks (which were amazing to see, by the way) of a younger Jessica’s home life and her ultimate decision to become a lawyer.

Jessica took Leonard’s case and agreed to help Rachel because when people wrote about and talked about Pearson Specter Litt, she wanted them to mention their good deeds and not the fraud committed by Mike. It was a very self-serving motivation initially, and throughout the case, Jessica was doing what any lawyer would do — focusing on winning for her client. She saw this as a case and treated it as such. And there was nothing inherently wrong with that. Jessica was just doing what she always has done. She was running her business. But somewhere along the line — between this week and last — Jessica began to see Leonard’s case as just LEONARD. She placed his life over the life of her firm and its survival. She chose to remain in court and let Harvey and Louis handle the future of the firm.

She remembered why she became a lawyer in the first place. And she kicked butt while doing it.

And I think that it was through this — through remembering where she started and looking at where she was — that Jessica reevaluated the priorities in her life. She didn’t want to be that person anymore: the one focused on cases and winning and surviving. She wanted to LIVE. And it took this case to remind her that she became a lawyer because she wanted to be different. Jessica wanted to change the way lawyers were perceived and to have morality rise above all. That idealism was lost and Jessica managed to reclaim it in “P.S.L.”

I love that. I loved that Jessica went out on her own terms, of course, but what I loved more was WHY she went out. She didn’t leave the firm because it was sinking. In fact, I think the firm is set to rebuild itself again (slowly) soon. She didn’t leave because she was kicked out. And she didn’t leave because it was easy. This was probably the hardest decision she’s ever had to make. No, Jessica left because she remembered who she was. She remembered that young woman telling her father that she would pave a path for herself that was different than his. Jessica freakin’ Pearson didn’t let anyone kick her out — she set her own terms and she prioritized her humanity and her idealism over being a corporate lawyer. It wasn’t judgmental, and she didn’t tell Harvey and Louis that by staying, they were amoral people who had no souls.

She just knew that her soul was still there and that this time, she was choosing to fight for it over her company. Remember when Jessica mentioned that she didn’t know if she had the strength to drag the firm back up from the bottom of the ocean? Well, she did. She found that strength. She set it back on course and handed over the wheel to two people she trusts. There is nothing more admirable or strong than that.

I’ll miss Jessica Pearson dearly, but I’m really proud of the way she exited. In a television era where women are killed off or else just sidelined in favor of men, finally a woman got to choose her own destiny and create her own happy ending. And bonus: she got the guy! (She was going to quit with or without him, but again, she got to choose her terms.)


With Mike and Rachel reunited, Jessica riding off to Chicago with Jeff, and Louis now engaged to Tara, it seems that the only Pearson Specter Litt colleagues left to find love are Harvey and Donna. Gee, what a coincidence! It’s no surprise to anyone who has watched the series that these two get each other. Whether you want them together romantically or not, it’s hard to deny that they have chemistry and their partnership is one of the foundational elements of Suits. Donna has always been there for Harvey, taking care of him and being his pillar of support. Even when she quit to work for Louis, she was there for him — in subtle ways, letting him have space to process until he was ready. Donna has always waited for Harvey to be ready, and she knows him well enough to know that in high-stress situations, he usually wants her to back away.

So it’s no surprise that she assumes at the end of “P.S.L.” that Harvey needs space in order to process his mentor and friend leaving the firm. But in an incredible twist, Harvey doesn’t want to be alone. And so Donna tentatively approaches and stands beside him. She reaches out her hand ever so slightly, and he holds it. That’s how this finale ends — with Harvey and Donna, holding hands, looking out into the night together. It’s poignant and it’s important for a number of reasons. First, it sets the stage for what’s to come when the show returns this winter. It reminds us that everyone on this show has a teammate who they rely on. And Donna has always been Harvey’s. She’s always there for him, whether he thinks he needs her or not, and she will quietly support him or do whatever is necessary to help. Harvey will need her more than ever when the firm is officially in his and Louis’ hands. And it’s going to be really interesting to see how the power dynamics shift because both men rely heavily on Donna for everything.

(Really, the firm should just be called “Paulsen” because she’s the unsung hero who keeps it afloat and, you know, prevents the partners from murdering one another.)

Secondly, this is an important step for Harvey. Instead of pushing Donna away or running from something that might be difficult, he invites her into his moment of vulnerability. He doesn’t distance himself, and he doesn’t try to hide what he’s feeling. He’s upset and processing, and instead of going it alone — like he has for so long — Harvey realizes he needs to let the one person who’s always there for him in completely. So he invites her in, and she stands beside him and they hold hands in this incredibly intimate moment. It’s the kind of intimacy that you feel like you’re supposed to look away from. This is a big deal for Harvey. He’s letting Donna see him when he’s weak, when he doesn’t have all of the answers for what comes next, and when he’s scared.

And Donna, bless her heart, just stands there wordlessly and lets him know that she cares and will not leave him. The way they silently hold hands is beautiful. It’s progress in a relationship where holding hands shouldn’t be as big of a deal as it is. If you were on Twitter last night when the episode aired, you would have thought that the two kissed or slept together based on the vocal response. But holding hands is perhaps even more intimate than either of those things. It’s this unspoken agreement that they’re present for one another and that they’re on the same team. After years of struggling to let one another in, Harvey and Donna have finally been able to push past their walls and stand together as the world around them changes.

That’s love, folks — pure and simple.

This half-season of Suits started and ended on very high notes. Unfortunately, the middle episodes were just messes. But I’m hopeful that with such a strong ending, the show will return better than ever in the winter and ready to tackle the question of “what comes next”?

And now, bonus points:

  • I missed Neal McDonough. Can he come back during the winter episodes? Please?
  • “I miss working with you.” The bromance has returned!
  • Speaking of the bromance, the references to A Few Good Men in this episode were blatant and strong. Also movie reference-worthy? Jessica and Rachel’s case. Was anyone else reminded of Legally Blonde throughout the entire thing? From Rachel being allowed to question Leonard even though she’s a law student, to Jessica badgering the victim’s father until he admitted that he tampered with a witness, it all felt straight out of the pages of Ms. Elle Woods. Hmm.
  • “I’d shake your hand, but I don’t want your shady ethics rubbing off on me.”
What did you all think of the midseason finale? Sound off in the comments below and join us in January when Suits returns for the back half of season six!


  1. I knew it, I couldn't be the only one who thought the courtroom scene with Jessica and Rachel was strikingly similar as Elle's! I loved it. It was so, so beautiful.

    1. And I completely agree with everything you said on this post. Jessica's exit was emotional, powerful, heartbreaking and yet, beautiful all at the same time. This is the kind of SUITS I signed up for.

  2. I thought this was a great episode that finished far too quickly.

    I am so glad we will get s Season 7 to see how this all works out!