Suits "Asterisk" Review: The (Ongoing) Importance of Being Louis

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Aug 17, 2012

Suits S02E09: “Asterisk”

Getting Donna back ended up being the easiest of Harvey’s missions in Suits’ almost-finale, but it’s a forgivable transgression considering all the turmoil Team Donna has been forced to wallow in over the past few weeks. Donna protested the implication of Louis’s unfortunate line of questioning and claimed that she only loves Harvey as a “brother or cousin.” Harvey handed her a bonus check and let her “fire” the floating temp, Cameron, and his color-coded abomination of a filing system.

What I am certain Harvey chalked up as a major victory at the time was unfortunately minor in comparison to the bigger war at hand. Hardman’s latest move in his campaign against Jessica was to promote Louis to senior partner, essentially buying his vote in the ongoing Pearson-Hardman popularity contest. He followed the promotion up with the not-at-all-suspicious stipulation that Louis keep the good news to himself until after the upcoming partners meeting—the very meeting where the votes for either his or Jessica’s superiority would be cast. The stipulation served possibly two purposes: The first was the episode’s major concern, that Louis’s allegiance could be bought, and the second was to give Hardman a means to punish Louis severely if he didn’t come through with a vote in Hardman’s favor. I won’t be surprised if, despite all indications to the contrary, Louis ultimately votes for Jessica only to see Hardman take his promotion away.

Luckily, Donna was around to read between the lines and, based almost entirely on what kind of suit Louis was wearing, sussed out his pending promotion and what that meant for Jessica’s chance to beat Hardman. Immediately following Louis’s sweet and sincere apology for his offensive questioning during the mock trial weeks ago, Donna went to Jessica who, in turn, ordered Harvey to ensure that Louis voted in her favor. Harvey’s answer to “Woo Louis” included giving his frenemy the number of his awesome tailor and treating him to a fancy dinner where he whipped out the paperwork from five years ago that Louis used to uncover Hardman’s embezzlement...except this time, Harvey left the names uncensored. While Louis was hurt and outraged that Hardman had set him up to be the fall guy all those years ago, he was equally, if not more, disturbed by Harvey’s actions and the realization that while Hardman had used him then, Jessica was using him now.

There’s a member of my viewing party who just started watching Suits with me this season. It was at this point in “Asterisk” that he turned to me and asked, “So why am I supposed to cheer for Harvey and Jessica?”

“Because they’re the good guys.”

“They don’t seem like the good guys.”

The best defense of Harvey and Jessica that I could come up with was, “Satch the first season.” I wouldn’t say that I’m disappointed in them. I realize that they are in attack mode and a great deal of this season has revolved around the idea of the greater good and how moral people occasionally find themselves in positions where they have to do immoral or unpleasant things to benefit that greater idea.

However, their continued bewilderment whenever Louis is hesitant to jump on the Jessica bandwagon is starting to try my patience. They just aren’t nice to him. They’ve never BEEN nice, respectful, or inclusive toward him. At best, Jessica can be counted on to force Harvey into something resembling civil interaction, but it's always followed up by a scene between the two of them later, lamenting Louis’s personality, his very nature, and how they have no choice but to work with him because, well, he works hard, or he has powerful connections, or special skills, or an unwavering loyalty to his company that could easily be exploited.

While the right choice for the greater good of Pearson-Hardman is for Louis to vote for Jessica, it’s not, at first glance, a good choice for Louis, and I don’t fault him a bit for considering Hardman. Harvey and Jessica mistreated the odd, but loyal, dog for years and now question his aversion to them. Their inability to understand that makes them look alternately stupid and shallow.

When tossing dinner, suits, and even Harvey’s office didn’t seem to sway Louis’s decision, Jessica fell back on her old standby: threats. Louis appeared un-phased. After all, if she was so certain of her victory, why bother courting Louis at all?

And yet, I’m not entirely convinced that Louis has sworn himself to Hardman. Despite Louis’s outraged response to it, Harvey’s information about Hardman’s original fraud seemed to strike a nerve. Louis confronted Hardman, who promptly pulled out that old “I’m a changed man” defense.

Louis’s vote is still very much on the fence. Which side of it do you think he’ll land on?

Case Notes

– Donna said that Harvey had only ever visited her apartment twice, “That God-awful dinner and the other time.” Please Donna, tell us more about “the other time.”

– FINALLY! Rachel scored a 172, which means she can go to law school. High five, girlfriend!

– Speaking of Rachel, I changed my mind and decided that she and Mike make a delightful couple, mostly because I feel like Suits’ writers have worked hard to give her a personality outside of “nagging girlfriend” and actually made her awesome. So uh, have at it, kids.

– When he wasn’t handling his case o’ the week, Mike was shopping for a nice apartment for his grandma because thanks to his bonus from Harvey, he could afford to look for places close enough to the office that Sassy Grandma could maybe leave the nursing home. With Rachel’s help, he found a beautiful place in his price range and left work early to make it absolutely perfect for his grandmother’s arrival, only to answer the door to find a tearful Rachel explaining that the nursing home had called the office, that it was the only emergency number they had, and that Mike’s grandma had passed away. I’m sure we’ll see the full extent of the fallout next week, but in the meantime, who else was absolutely crushed by Mike’s comment that she never even got to see the new apartment? And what do you think the death of Sassy Grandma, Mike’s primary motivation for lying his way into Pearson-Hardman’s ranks, means for Mike’s future at the firm? Are we going to see some motivation problems in the future?

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  • YixiaSi Aug 21, 2012

    Talking about Jessica and Harvey 's relationship. I always have the feeling that when Hardman is in power, he must do whatever he can to make Harvey's life miserable. Because Jessica means just a Lieutenant for him and having a powerful Harvey as Jessica's ally does not favor Hardman at all. No wonder Harvey does not like Hardman.

  • AudreyFernand Aug 21, 2012

    This show is so interesting cos its got so many layers for its characters.

  • stanking Aug 20, 2012

    Die, nuttyrich, die!

  • YixiaSi Aug 20, 2012

    way to go, LOL

  • YixiaSi Aug 20, 2012

    The only person that I don't understand is Jessica. I know the writers want to make her complicated...come on...she is Harvey's mentor, if Harvey or Louis are three dimensional, she got to be nine dimensional......but her actions only seem contradicting with one another and send out mixed signals......

  • Mcarson09 Aug 21, 2012

    Jessica is just a vampire who feeds off of Harvey. She can't mange to do anything without him.

  • smorbie Aug 20, 2012

    I disagree. Jessica is very simple. She looks out for Jessica. She cares only for Jessica. And she will only do what makes Jessica look good.

  • YixiaSi Aug 20, 2012

    From day one, I'm a Harvey/Louis shipper. For one, I love the two actors playing off with each other and it is always delightful to watch. Both characters respect the other professionally. However, Harvey is egotistic and sometimes can really be an a*hole; he has no mercy to weak people, particularly mentally weak people. While Louis can also be an a*hole from time to time, internally he is lack of self-esteem and needs approval from those he respects. Harvey clearly sees this but just doesn't gibev a damn. Harvey only respects people that respect themselves. Apparently his coldness on this front comes back and bite him through Louis. Both characters are flawed and that is why it is fun to watch.

  • Kerkesh Aug 20, 2012

    I have issues with Rachel's subplot.We were told a while back that she comes from an extremely loaded family.So what kept her from going to Harvard or Yale before she ended up at Pearson-Hardman? This does not make any sense.So now she passed her enterance exam, does it mean that she makes peace with her parents who will pay for her education and isn't she too old to go back to law school?

    I think the writers owe us a meeting with her parents where we get the information to make her story stick or it's just too ridiculous. Btw, is her wealth the reason why among all the paralegals she is given a space of her own?

    As for romance, the writers should make things interesting and make Mike meet a really drop dead gorgeous sophisticated woman because let's face it Rachel is still emotionally a teenager.

  • smorbie Aug 20, 2012

    I also have issues with Rachel. Despite my intense dislike of her she is still on the show. Go, Rachel. Roam free. There is life outside of New York. Just leave already.

    In case you can't tell, I don't like her and I want her to go away.

  • safibwana Aug 20, 2012

    You answered your own question. You can't get into Harvard or Yale law schools without first getting a good score on that test.

  • YixiaSi Aug 20, 2012

    My guessing is Louis would eventually vote for Jessica, but Hardman would win. Hardman is the main antagonist this season and there are six more episode in winter, so Hardman couldn't lose at this point. Come on, voting for Hardman? I hope Iouis is not that naive. If you have to choose between someone that is reluctant to take you as a friend and someone that set you up that would sent you to prison and ruin your entire life......

    And someone even believes Hardman's claim that although he set Louis up but he didn't think that would ever happen is just......the fact that he went through all the trouble to set Louis up just indicates he believed it would happen!

  • YixiaSi Aug 20, 2012

    I think the plot that brought Donna back is the least favorite thing of this season to me (no matter how I want her back). They just let go of the whole trust issue, which I found much more intriguing that the romance between Harvey and Donna. I just don't know how Harvey would digest the fact that there is always a possibility that Donna would do something behind his back (when you consider how important Donna is to him, it's even more disturbing).

  • NWBill Aug 20, 2012

    First, and foremost ..... DONNA'S BACK!!!! It's like winning the sass lottery! I laughed for 5 MINUTES STRAIGHT when she tore up the first check Harvey had, and then he PRODUCED ANOTHER, BIGGER ONE!! Those two kids tend to make my doctor concerned for my health!

    Next: LEWIS IS NOT LOYAL!! Why? Because he lacks the one quality Harvey and Jessica have in SPADES: the ability to think LONG-TERM. Lewis is in the positions he's in because he can't see the forest for the trees; he's so busy bitching about slights against him in the here-and-now, he doesn't think what the long-term results of his actions will mean. Case in point - he wasn't patient enough to persuade Jessica that he was indeed ready to sit at the adults table. Instead, he's been demanding from everyone else to operate on HIS assumption: that HE thinks HE belongs there. Anyone who's ever held a job knows that bosses work on THEIR timetables; not YOURS. YOUR job is to tailor your skills and work product to fit and support THEIR timetable, which becomes YOURS - and will then properly adjust your expectations of them. Lewis never learned that, the way Harvey has. Jessica is the ONLY person Harvey operates that way with ... and that's one of the reasons they are allies. Lewis could have been Jessica's ally, too ... except he wasn't willing to work by her timetable and plans. Instead, she ends up threatening him dire consequences for not doing so, when Hardman doesn't remove her as managing partner. And he WON'T. So, where will that leave Lewis (who will undoubtedly support Hardman)?

    Donna should send him the want ads she started looking through, before her return.

    Next: Mike has lost his touchstone, his center ... his beloved grandmother. What does that mean for his future? He becomes more single-minded, more willing to skirt the edges of a case - in other words, more like Harvey. Harvey now has another thing in common with his young associate; they've both lost close family members. I think they'll bond more as a result. Harvey and Rachel are the only people at the firm who knew how close Mike and his grandmother were ... and will be there for him (in different ways). Harvey will reveal a little more of himself to Mike through their shared losses. Rachel will start to see Mike become more edgy ... and will try to help him keep his core humanity - the humanity his grandmother helped mold in him. There is some GREAT writing to be had here with these three characters in upcoming episodes!

    Next: Rachel's gonna go to law school, and be what she's always been destined to be: MIKE'S BETTER HALF! Remember the look on his face when he saw how much his grandmother and Rachel had bonded? And, when she had to deliver the bad news to him (NOT Harvey, significantly), it was done with grace, and pain, and deep loss --- but, it was also done in love, and shared grief. For those of us who have been there, that kind of support can save you.

    Last: Harvey, Jessica, Mike, Donna, and the rest of the gang go to the Mordor of Pearson Hartman -- it's the big battle for the RING, folks ... and NO ONE will be the same afterwards!

    Buckle up!

  • Kerkesh Aug 20, 2012

    Aside from hanging to power, in what way do you see H& J think long term.They certainly did not see the Hartmann situation coming back to bite their bitchy ass or the loss of the memo that got Donna fired and in fact none of the many old cases that also came back to bite their still bitchy ass.

    As for Donna,Seriously. Did you think for a second that she wasn't coming back.Actually, all it took is a large check, which is so patheticI can't even comment at it.

    Finally Louis has earned his partnership and he doesn't work on his own agenda or the bosses', who are not relegated to only H&J; but a whole bunch of partners, to wish again HE BELONGS.

    HArtmann is Mordor? how did you pick that up? just because some people say something, this does not make it the word of God.Jessica has knived Pearson in the back and stole his firm.You met Hartman's mistress last episode, do you seriously think that she is the kind of woman who thrives on luxury, in view of her present predicament? And do you really think that Hartman would steal significantly from his clients just to entertain a mistress.As for having a mistress during his wife's terminal illness, do you know for a fact that she did not want him to find someone to love him or at least to care for him after she is gone.Please explain to me in what way Hartmann has behaved in an evil way, and then explain to me how you cannot see Jessica's constant manipulation as not being evil.

  • Cranky_Old_Batt Aug 21, 2012

    Framing Louis for embezzlement, while using the money to pay the subordinate you are nailing while your wife is dying says dirt bag to me. Granted we are talking about lawyers, but this is low even for one of them.

    While Jessica integrity-wise seems no better, we have not seen any evidence of law breaking. Bending, but not out and out criminal behavior. But I don't like her either.

    Donna - well the show needs the character for comic relief, I guess. But first she breaks the law then is bought back like a dime store floozy, so I add her to the list of characters I don't like. I used to adore her so I may just hate her season two version for being obvious and common.

  • bluemystique Aug 20, 2012

    Another incredible episode. I feel like I've been saying that since the beginning so it's getting a bit stale.

    Every recap I've found myself going on a Harvey and Jessica defense. I feel if I do it any further it becomes redundant...and yet. I still maintain that I do not see what everyone else sees as far as Jessica and Harvey being assholes. I don't see it. I see them fighting fire with fire. It hasn't marred my perception of them as characters whatsoever. It all makes perfect sense to me. They still maintain two of the most complex characters on the show...and clearly they are two of my favorite. With a person like Daniel you almost have to get right down to his level in order to beat him. That doesn't make them seem unfavorable to me and I can't quite wrap my head around the grief that everyone has been giving them. What's the alternative? Roll over and take it? It would be so uncharacteristc for either of them to do just that...and I find it interesting that their morals are being questioned a great deal when they tend to follow their own moral code...but they haven't done anything per se that's been morally reprehensible.

    Harvey, Louis, and Jessica. Something else that gets to me. Most people operate under the assumption that they treat Louis like crap all of the time. Which isn't true. I think back to many of those little moments when they cast the friendly rivalry and fun and games aside and get real and genuine. Those moments have happend. If not for those moments than I would fully understand the argument that Louis is mistreated. When Harvey waltzed into the bull pen late and started in on Louis and Louis pretty much told him "not now" Harvey stopped...instantly. Sat down, his perceptiveness kicked in and it was one of those rare glimpses we got of not only Harvey Specter showing that he cares, but showing that he cares about Louis. He acknowledged that Louis was great at what he does. I think back to in Season One when Harvey said that he jests with Louis like that because he respects him. He's told Louis that on more than one occasion. And that holds true for someone like Harvey because he jests with everyone...he and Jessica's conversations are always laced with sarcasm and jokes. Same with him and Donna and him and Mike. All people that he cares about. I've always seen their relationship as sibling like and antagonistic. The entire "No one messes with my brother but me" type of vibe. And Louis gives as good as he gets, which would understandably lead Harvey to believe that Louis is onboard with the type of relationship that they have.

    And Jessica and Louis. She does have a way of treating him like he's a nuisance...but no more than anyone else does. She also has expressed her appreciation for him. She's told him that she relies on him for things that she can't rely on Harvey for. She's acknowledged his strengths. And again she and Harvey are similar in how they interact with everyone. As poised as Jessica can be she also has that snarky side that consist of her cracking jokes and trading is her way.

    Louis, God bless him, is like that kid who got picked last on the schoolyard or something. The problem Louis no amount of praise will ever be enough for him. If he actually paid attention he'd realize that even though it's clear Jessica favors Harvey and relies on him more, she doesn't lavish him with compliments and high praise on the regular...and he doesn't expect her to. Louis' expectations are what gets in his way with his relationship with pretty much everyone. Harvey self motivates and praises himself, he doesn't rely or need a pat on the back from Jessica and she doesn't really give him one, but it's understood that she appreciates him. Louis constantly wants that even the few moments of praise he recieves is never quite enough for him. He's constantly seeking approval and that is what makes him the butt of everyone's joke. His insecurities are what get in the way of how others treat him. He's just as much an ass as Harvey but wears his insecurities on his cuff link and that makes him an easy target, and a nuisance. On top of that...he's flaky. His need for approval means he'll get it from wherever, he has many great qualities but genuine loyalty without expecting something in return isn't exactly ,one of them. That will forever keep him on the outs. Jessica will favor Harvey and it'd be impossible for that not to seem abundantly clear to everyone, but her reasons for favoring Harvey have more to do with their special relationship than anyone else at that firm. Anyone who is even close to aware of their history would know and accept that. She picked him out of the mail room and paid his way through law school. The amount of respect, admiration, trust and reverance they have for one another is mostly due to that alone...and that means he will always be her second in command, and protege. Louis is annoyed that Jessica doesn't treat him like she treats Harvey. Unrealistic expectation to have. His relationship with Jessica would be a lot stronger if he had enough confidence in his own abilities to not seek her approval and kiss ass so much...because no one respects a kiss ass...and if he didn't toss out idle threats whenever he doesn't get his way. (because she's still pissed about his stupid threat in Season one). And while the whole relationship between the three characters is isn't that far off from the level of immaturity in which all the characters interact. It's like a corporate playground full of insults and hair pulling and throwing sand. I love it.

    -Now this episode was great anyways...but nothing else mattered after they killed off Nana Ross! I was in horror! I LOVED that woman! Little Mikey is officially and orphan now! He has no one left! Grandma Ross was awesome! It was like watching that one episode of The Closer all over again where in those moments before the revelation was made I just knew she was a goner. I mean she finally met Harvey. It was like fated for her not to make it. Rest in Peace Grandma Ross, you were one of the coolest Grannies ever. Sniffles.

    -Donna. Donna is back and I'm all happy and slightly annoyed. I'm thrilled because it's Donna and the show needs Donna and I freakin love Donna. I LOVED her and Louis doing their little strut. Awesome! And that dress Sara Rafferty was wearing was sick, and her post baby boobs looked fantastic in it and I was so jealous because I couldn't pull that dress off if I tried. Envious of these Suits ladies and their gorgeousness and fashion sense. So envious. Anyhoo...loved the banter between her and Harvey because I love their bantering (although a small part of me doesn't enjoy it as much as I used to because this season more than ever they've been laying the Donna/Harvey shippy stuff thick and I just don't want to think of Harvey shipped with anyone because this show is so awesome w/o all that crap). But. No way in hell Donna should be able to waltz back in there like that. My love for her aside, it's annoying that she basically committed a crime and faced no repercussions. Not really. If anything she got rewarded, bonuses and stuff. I mean I love her, I do, but she's had this streak of self righteousness in that entire situation that rubbed me the wrong way, because it was like she never acknowledged that shredding that file was wrong because she did it for Harvey. In fact I wanted to kiss Harvey when he aptly pointed out that she got pissed at him for not "fighting harder for her" than got pissed at him for fighting on her behalf in court. I love Donna but when it came to that whole thing I wanted her to get over herself. But Donna and Louis interacting is always golden. Screw Donna and Harvey if ever I'm going to jump behind a ship on this will be Donna and Louis all the way! I kid not.

    - Again Rick Hoffman has been killing it this season and I just loved watching Louis in the entire episode. I agree with Saf I think who said that Daniel Hardman was an asshole in that whole making Louis Senior partner but emphasizing that it shouldn't come out until the vote thing. Say what you will about Harvey and Jessica with Louis but they've always been straight shooters with their approach for the most part. There have been moments when they tried playing him like a chess piece but for the most part they tend to be straight shooters. Daniel was being manipulative but trying to pretend like he wasn't. That's just insulting to Louis' intelligence. I'd rather stick with the enemies I know than the one that I don't.

    - Rachel was actually great in this episode. She didn't get on my nerves once and we finally learned she got a great grade on her LSAT. I wasn't even nauseated when she came up and became the greatest support to Mike in that moment that was a strange parallel to when Donna came in to tell Harvey that his father died.

    -I loved how Donna skirted the love question. Because she voiced what I was thinking in that moment Louis asked it. It is a complex question...definitely not just a yes or no one. And she dismissed it as loving Harvey like a brother or annoying couisn. Honestly that's how I view their realtionship and I really hope it stays that way, rather than going down some unrequited love route. Even if she didn't mean it...I was hoping that she did.

    - I think Louis might vote for Hardman but someone else will flip and vote for Jessica and all hell will break loose. I don't think it's unusual for Jessica and Harvey to expect Louis' loyalty. For both of them that's a very important quality. They're loyal to people...even if they aren't particularly close to them, they still remain loyal to them...and the problem with being that way is that you kinda of expect everyone else to be that way too. I guess in most circumstances Louis probably doesn't own either of them that, but in the world of Suits where loyalty is important it makes sense that it

  • smorbie Aug 20, 2012

    Wow, you've really thought this through.

  • bluemystique Aug 22, 2012

    Let the record show I tend to analyze everything. So yeah. It's kinda pathetic, but I've learned to embrace it and be unapologetic about it. : )

  • safibwana Aug 22, 2012

    Not at all pathetic. I can't think I've ever read one of your comments and thought that. If only the rest of us did our thinking before our posting..

  • YixiaSi Aug 20, 2012

    Completely agree about Louis' high expectation part. Very well said.

  • Cranky_Old_Batt Aug 21, 2012

    It creeps me out how much I relate to Louis and how I am now reexamining the mistake I make professionally that I am seeing played out in a freaking tv show.

  • bluemystique Aug 22, 2012

    I know the feeling. I tend to relate to many characters of tv shows on certain levels. This show is a great one because I can easily relate to at least three of the characters on certain levels and I know people who are exactly like others so I understand them too. It's why with the exception of maybe Rachel...I truly love all the characters and the depth they have.

  • Kerkesh Aug 20, 2012

    I am ready to go your way as far as Harvey is concerned as he is shifting in behavior from one episode to another and except for the bad influence of Jessica, he seems fine. However, Jessica is not a good person and if Hartmann is no angel, she is certainly a demon.I just cannot see any redeeming qualities to her.I agree with you that she is consistent, but that does not make her someone to like, on the contrary, she has not evolved as a person from the time that she was under Hartmann's wing until now. And I can't see her as being complex at all, she is there too, a lack of complexity, just meanness and and hubris. But I would like to agree with you if you can really convince me with examples that make Jessica who you claim she is.

  • bluemystique Aug 22, 2012

    Eh. I just cannot buy into this "Jessica is not a good person" thing that everyone keeps talking about. All I've heard is some run in she had with an old college nemesis and her behaviour towards Hardman. So how about I'll show you mine if you show me yours. You convince me that she isn't a complex individual, a "demon", vicious or anything else along those lines and I'll be more than willing to explain why I don't agree. : ) All season long they've been operating under this assumption that both Harvey and Jessica need to be redeemed and that Hardman is a changed man. None of the above is actually true. I don't see anything inherently wrong with either Harvey or Jessica and how they've conducted themselves the majority of the time. I don't believe Hardman is a changed man...and also to throw in there I don't think Mike is losing himself and becoming a mini harvey and even if he is, I don't see why it's implied that it's a horrible thing.

  • safibwana Aug 22, 2012

    The bit with Donna about Louis's suit was petty. I thought less of her after that exchange, seriously.

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