Monday, August 27, 2012

"High Noon" for Suits

USA's Suits ended its summer run on a high note; "High Noon," to be precise. The votes are in, and Daniel Hardman (David Costabile) is the new managing partner at the firm. Jessica (Gina Torres) appears to accept these events, while icily plotting her revenge. Louis (Rick Hoffman), at Hardman's urging, begins goading Harvey (Gabriel Macht), trying to force him into quitting. And Mike (Patrick J. Adams) doesn't deal very well with the death of his grandmother (Rebecca Schull).

The ten episodes of Suits this summer have been amazing, and "High Noon" is no exception. Seeing the game of politics and intrigue the characters play at a very high level is impressive, and while Hardman winning the battle is slightly surprising, what comes after is not expected at all. One might think that Suits would let Hardman stay in charge awhile. But the seeds were planted for a masterful conspiracy, and it takes Harvey, et al. very little time to bring the giant crashing down.

Is this the end of the line for this story? Hardman swears to return, and he probably will. But will that be the arc for the second half of the season, beginning in January, or merely a tease of a future story line, not yet planned or scripted? Costabile is a brilliant actor who did a terrific job in this role. Any chance to see him return would be most welcome, not least of all because it makes the central characters, whom viewers adore, step up their game and prove their worth.

Every hero must have a villain to vanquish. Suits understands this. But Suits, more than most stories, also understands that heroes are seldom always noble, and villains may have justifiable motivation. Harvey does some low down things in his quest for the win, and by the end of "High Noon," viewers may believe Jessica is capable of almost anything.

The odd man out is Louis. He turns his back on Jessica and Harvey, not without just cause. Though we still don't know for sure if he voted for Hardman or Jessica, it doesn't matter. Louis stood by Hardman, and relished the changing of the guard. While Hardman is gone from the firm, Louis must stay, at least for now. Will Harvey and Jessica be able to look past their anger and begin to treat Louis the way he deserves to be treated? Or will their coldness make him the next Hardman, the next great foe? Either scenario would be cool. Personally, I would like to see the writers put Louis in a clear antagonist position, and then make the viewers root for him against Harvey and Jessica. It's certainly possible.

The other major story in "High Noon" is Mike dealing with his grief. It is only with the help of a very patient Rachel (Meghan Markle) that he is sober and clean enough to show up for the funeral. Burying himself in his work, as Harvey allows Mike to do until he crosses a line, is not what Mike needs. Avoidance cannot replace feeling the loss. Rachel understands this, exposing a flaw in Harvey's character, and several for Mike.

Sadly, and a bit predictably, Mike screws things up. Not with Harvey, whom Mike shares some of the best moments of the series with in this episode, really reaching a level of friendship that belies their job titles. But it's Rachel whom Mike wrongs. On the brink of finally getting together, Mike thinks she rejects him and falls into bed with an old flame, setting the couple back quite a ways. In the classic "we were on a break" Friends style, Suits sets up this romantic dance to continue on for much longer. It's a shame, even if year two is a bit early to form any lasting romantic bond.

And what of Donna (Sarah Rafferty)? Hints were dropped at a possible love of Harvey, even if she swears she's not in love with him. I think these two will take much longer to get anywhere, if ever, a possibility shippers would be very disappointed in.

But the thing is, Suits hasn't jumped as much into the romantic arena the way other dramas have, and this is kind of a welcome change. It knows what it is, and how to do it supremely well. Add to that some of the wittiest dialogue on screen, and running jokes about can openers and balls, and it begs the question: Why mess with near perfection?

Suits will return to USA next January.

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