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Monday, September 23, 2013

SUITS Should "Stay" On My TV

Article first published as SUITS Should "Stay" On My TV on TheTVKing.

USA's Suits aired their summer finale, "Stay," this week. It was an emotional roller coaster, with character development at the forefront, and larger plots taking a back seat to the personal stuff. We see several characters make some very important decisions, and several come to terms with how they feel about a woman. Basically, Suits doubles down on the main players in the show, terrifically reaffirming that this is not your typical legal drama.

Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is not soft. He has trouble with relationships because it's hard for him to open himself up. That's what ran Scottie (Abigail Spencer) away before, and it's what has made it difficult for him to have friends, save a select couple.

Yet, "Stay" sees his ice-cold heart crack and melt. Harvey offers Mike (Patrick J. Adams) as sound advice as he can, knowing he is not a relationship guru. He finds a way to connect to Ava Hessington (Michelle Fairley) emotionally, prompting her to drop her suit against Pearson Specter. And most importantly, when Travis Tanner (Eric Close) bullies and torments Scottie, he comes to her aid. This sets the stage for Harvey to not only realize his feelings for Scottie, but after some coaxing, admit that he wants her to stay and be with him.

This is a big step forward for Harvey. He'll never become a teddy bear or lose his edge, but he does have room for multiple facets in his life, and Dana Scott brings out a side of him we haven't really seen before. Can Harvey make a true relationship work, or will he sabotage it, as he does so many other things? Does he have the capability to just be happy?

Mike sort of follows in Harvey's footsteps, almost screwing things up with Rachel (Meghan Markle) because he doesn't want her to go to college at Stanford, far away from him. It's not until he realizes how unhappy Harvey is and does some serious soul searching that he can be supportive of Rachel no matter what her decision. It's true that long distance doesn't work, and it probably won't for Mike and Rachel, either. But at least Mike handles things graciously and allows Rachel the space to make her own decision, setting the stage for an eventual reconciliation when she returns, after they eventual break up when she leaves.

Except, her leaving is not how this plays out. It's not completely unexpected; she is way too valuable a member of the ensemble to just send out for a few years. So instead, we see her make a deal with Jessica (Gina Torres) that will allow her to continue to work at Pearson Specter after she graduates in exchange for sticking her neck out for Mike and Jessica, then tells Mike she's staying to go to Columbia. It's comes across as a more sweet vibe than girl-giving-up-her-dreams-for-a-man-sy, but there could be resentment and regret down the road from this decision...

Louis (Rick Hoffman) also has to figure out how to be romantic when his arrangement with Sheila (Rachael Harris) falters. For Louis, their tryst is as much about business as she is about pleasure. Sheila, however, wants more. They have a strange dynamic, both being such similar people, and neither particularly prone to a traditional relationship. But I'm glad they make it work because Louis deserves happiness, and she seems a good one to give it to him.

Yes, this makes "Stay" sound like it's all a bunch of mushy stuff, but that just isn't true. Like the characters themselves, there are many layers to the show. Donna (Sarah Rafferty) saves the day when she uses Stephen Huntley's (Max Beesley) feelings for her against him. There are intense deposition scenes. Jessica tricks Donna into spilling some gossip, then goes after Mike and Rachel to protect her firm. And Louis uncovers a startling secret about Mike.

We know Mike faked his Harvard tenure, but no one ever got the chance to stick a paper file in the big file room at the school? It's completely keeping in what we know of Louis that, left alone in said file room, he checks for Mike's file. This overlooked snafu could unravel the whole charade.

The question is, what will Louis do with this information? He's shown a great ability to do the right thing, which protecting Mike may or may not be, depending on perspective, even when that is against his purpose, and sacrifice for the greater good of the business. He and Mike have even been friends from time to time, though not lately. So it's very conceivable Louis could get past this. However, it's also very likely he may make some very big trouble before he realizes what he should do, or this may be the straw that finally breaks Louis's back and makes him stand up, or he could convince Jessica that it's wrong to keep Mike on staff. It's hard to tell.

This development does bring Mike's original story full circle, with the last main character finally finding out about his deceit. Well, on his way to finding out, anyway. The beginning of Suits is long gone, and the show continues to grow. It's sort of a relief that this should be the last time Mike's falsification poses a real threat, at least from the inside, and now the story can move on to other things. But given how well Suits delivers drama and tension, I'm also in no hurry to see this played out, as it should make an amazing thread in the back half of the season.

Suits will return this winter to complete its third batch on USA.

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