Suits "He's Back" Review: Pearson Hardman vs. the World

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Feb 08, 2013

Suits S02E14: “He’s Back”

Hardman is like a mosquito in that he’s just begging for someone—probably Harvey—to throw him into a bug zapper, but he’s also like a mosquito in that he’s carrying West Nile and infecting EVERYONE, including the audience, with uncertainty. I like it. So far, the simplest solution has always won out. Hardman has never failed to be the bad guy we always knew him to be, but he’s also done an amazing job at making our heroes look pretty unheroic themselves, planting the seeds of doubt, and generally just making the storyline for Season 2 seem far more complex than it actually is because Suits is fancy like that.

Lawyer Bunk, Rachel Zane’s daddy at a rival firm farmed out his Folsom Foods cases to Daniel Hardman, who in turn, jumped on the opportunity to make this all about him while simultaneously destroying Pearson Hardman because REVENGE and stuff. Mwahahaha. There was a lot of revenge talk this week, both from Hardman and from those he wronged. Donna with the bitchslap FTW! Harvey was so proud. We were all so proud.

Hardman was smarmy as ever, teaming up with Monica, that chick he was banging, to sue Pearson Hardman for a cool $10 mil in a wrongful termination suit. They aimed to make the wrongful termination look like some good ol’ fashioned gender discrimination so that Pearson Hardman would lose credibility while representing those bazillion cases from Folsom Foods that they weren’t equipped to handle anyway, subsequently losing them all and collapsing in on itself while Hardman and Monica danced around the ashes—and probably eventually peed on them.

The entire case would have been thrown out with the knowledge that Hardman and Monica were having an affair during her time at Pearson Hardman, but unfortunately, Hardman suckered Jessica into signing a confidentiality agreement when he was kicked to the curb, which meant Pearson Hardman was screwed. The thing is, even after outsmarting Hardman with a technicality in the confidentiality agreement and convincing Monica to be a decent human being for once in her life, Pearson Hardman is still screwed. Their big, wonderful, world-saving victory ultimately didn’t matter very much—kinda like Return of the Jedi when you take the expanded universe into account. The fight dragged on for another twenty years? How depressing. And awesome, if you were a dork in the '90s (Hello, friends!). But still depressing.

Everyone wants a piece of Pearson Hardman and it appears that their rivals would rather just wait to perfect their vulture routines than actually work with anyone associated with the firm (slackers!). Jessica reached out to Robert Zane, pushing the limits of what she could legally say concerning Hardman’s history with the firm, but he was bitter and grumpy and out for blood. Also he was BFFs with Hardman back in college and we all know that people NEVER change after college, right? Right. I’m so torn because I don’t want Lawyer Bunk to get screwed over, mostly because I like the characterization Suits has finally given his daughter and I don’t want anything to even vaguely threaten that, but I also love being able to say “I told you so” and so does Jessica. So fine, go play with your pal, Hardman. I hope you enjoy your time together!

Still, some of Hardman’s words resonate when it comes to his former partner, Jessica. At this point, knowing everything that we know about him, everything he says should be taken with an entire carton of salt. He’s out for Jessica, so he certainly isn’t going to have anything flattering to say about her, but we as an audience don’t really know much about Jessica to counter his accusations. She’s a career woman and she’s competitive, neither of which are bad traits. But she’s also ruthless, which can be a problem, and this week, I think we got a glimpse of how petty she can be: She was unwilling to make an agreement with Monica, even if it would win her this latest battle in the war against Hardman, purely because it was Monica and screw Monica. Harvey called Jessica out on being “out of control”—and when HARVEY SPECTER is the one calling you out on that, you should know you’re in trouble—but she countered by pointing out that HER name is the one on the door, which is her go-to argument these days, and a pretty tired one at that. I also giggled at Hardman reminiscing about “When Jessica and I instigated our own coup...” because it’s amusing that Jessica has led more than one coup in her life. How many coups does one need, really? At what point do we begin to entertain the idea that maybe the problem isn’t ALWAYS them? Maybe SOMETIMES the problem is Jessica?

I’m not there yet myself, but I can see that path opening up.

She gave Harvey her blessing to take down Hardman’s name, though, so there’s a flaw in Hardman’s “Jessica doesn’t REALLY trust Harvey” argument. Pearson Specter? Is that going to be a thing now? I bet that’s going to be a thing now.

What did you think of Daniel Hardman’s return?

Case Notes

– Donna Paulsen sass of the episode: “It took awhile to feng shui the evil out.” And then she slapped Hardman. BOOM.

– “Success is the best revenge.” “Bullshit. Revenge is the best revenge.” I hate to say it, Donna, my precious, but I think I have to side with Louis on this one.

– So pumped that Rachel filled out her Harvard app and wrote a kickass essay all by herself and HAS A ROLE OUTSIDE OF BEING MIKE’S LOVE INTEREST! Does she even qualify as a love interest anymore? They’ve been giving off awesome friend vibes since this show came back from hiatus and I’m really, really okay with it.

– Harvey and Louis talked to each other like human beings and it was touching and sincere and awesome.

– I like how Mike’s approach to almost every situation is to guilt his adversary into being a good person. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it works every time.

– Don’t make Louis angry, Hardman. You won’t like him when he’s angry.

– Why does EVERYONE throw Louis under the bus? Or rather, which came first—the bitter, angry Louis who everyone tries to screw over, or is he angry and bitter BECAUSE everyone tries to screw him over?

– How long until Rachel goes to Harvard and realizes Mike never went to Harvard? Because that’s where that story is going to go, right? Probably?

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  • Akkustikkoppler Feb 15, 2013

    @radiumgirl: Loved the Bunk reference (tbh: just the first one, the second, ok...) but was totally disturbed by the imagination of Monica peeing on Pearson Hardman's ashes… duh!

    Also I'd like to give kudos to the actors, writers, camera and editor for the Donna-Harvey dialog - awesome TV!

  • Lala22 Feb 12, 2013

    Thank you for another great review. Louis and Harvey's scene was so long-awaited and heartwarming. LOVE SUITS and I'm already sad that there's only two episodes left in the season...

  • badaly Feb 11, 2013

    I loved this episode. It reminded me why I like the show so much and they made up for the previous episode. Hardman is an ass but like he said, he is one hell of a lawyer and his name on the door isn't there by chance. I think Jessica, Harvey and Mike will have a long and difficult fight ahead of them with Daniel. He really is a worthy adversary.

    I feel sorry for Louis. He is every one's punching bag, but not any longer. I like this new, threatening side of him. The conversation between Harvey and Louis was awesome. It is the start of a friendship, with teasing of course but still, he is part of the team.

    Jessica is an amazing character. I admire her, she is a good lawyer and an amazing business woman. She is made for this world. I really hope she will continue to keep her cool and get out of this messy situation. Let us not forget, she is playing chess not checkers.

    Donna was also amazing. No fear in confronting Daniel. Two slaps on the cheek and no backing down or showing fear when he advances towards her. Amazing!! I was a little sad at the end of the episode when she is talking to Harvey and he says "Hey beautiful!", she seemed so hopeful but the compliment was directed at Jessica. I wonder if something happens between them in the episodes/seasons to come. I think they are a great power couple, so in-tune with each other.

    Anyway I am ranting here. The point is that it was an AMAZING episode and I cannot wait for more.

  • ChanX95 Feb 11, 2013

    I think I'm starting to really like Louis. That's all right isn't it? Also I was really hoping Donna would knee Hardman in the balls. Guess you can't have everything in life.

  • Derpanos Feb 11, 2013

    While Harvey is my personal favorite, Louis is definitely the most multi-dimensional character of the entire series, and has experienced the most significant growth as a character. He's really come a long way since the first episode.

  • bleumystique Feb 10, 2013

    I LOVED this episode!!! It was like the best. I was so enthralled with it I don't quite have the words. Something tells me that by the time I'm done rambling on like the geek that I am, I'll have another one of those super long posts that I've become known for to my utter embarrassment.
    -I've discussed the episode with friends and read a few things on it, and I think I'm in the always because I love Jessica Pearson. It isn't just because she's played by the incredible Gina Torres either. To me, Jessica is and has always been the female equivalent to Harvey which is one of the many reasons why they seem to get along so well and why their relationship is one of my favorite ones on the series. The thing is, I can speculate the reasons, but I'll put it simply and say that Jessica is often times viewed differently from the fans for doing and being the same way as Harvey and that frustrates me a great deal. I know so many kept saying she was bitchy but all I seen was a woman unhinged. For me, I LOVED seeing the duality to the Harvey/Jessica dynamic in this episode. Their roles were totally reversed, she was the loose cannon, unhinged, and highly emotional, stubborn, competitive,and focused on beating them. Just like Harvey. Harvey on the other hand, was reasonable, and rationale, composed, and in control...just like Jessica typically is. If that didn't show just why their partnership and friendship is so pivotal to the series, I don't know what is. If anything else they balance each other out most of the time and call each other on their shizz. I loved it.
    - Screw slapping Hardman, I wanted to smack the hell out of Monica. That stunt with Louis was NOT cool. At all. Sure, everyone constantly complains about "the cool kids" at the firm picking on Louis all the time, but the thing is, no matter what, he's part of their family. When he isn't being a total asshole, they genuinely respect and look out for him. They did it five years ago when Hardman was trying to make Louis his patsy and they were pissed about it now. Louis reminds me of a distant cousin. He's sometimes an ass, I never really wanted to play with that cousin , and that cousin had a tendency to dish but never be able to take, and basically got on every nerve I had. But he's frickin family, and you protect your family, And that was said last season and it's been said this season too, by Jessica and Harvey and Mike etc "we protect our own". That stunt with Monica was such a low-blow but it led to two of my favorite scenes of the night, that brilliant and touching scene between Harvey and Louis in Harvey's office, and the elevator scene where Hardman got "Litt Up". I love that if anything is going to bring all these people together, it's their home being under attack.
    - Jessica's job is her home, so I totally understood her getting completely out of control in this episode, and I actually thought it was great character development for her and just great in general. Because what was equally as inappropriate and had my blood boiling as the Monica/Louis thing was the deposition with Jessica. She's essentially being berated for being a modern day female stereotype that is the antitheses of an archaic female stereotype. That was rough. The fact that there was some truth in what Hardman was saying made it suck even more. Her firm is her everything, she's married to the job. Her marriage failed, she doesn't have any kids, her firm is her legacy and the fact that she's dangerously close to not having that anymore means she'd have nothing left to show for all of her hard work. And she clearly worked hard, and got pretty damn far, and as an ethnic female that is just bigger than what some people can understand. It reminded me a bit of when Mike went off on Harvey about how he doesn't want to end up single the rest of his life or basically end up like him. The parallels between the Jessica/Harvey mentor/mentee relationship and the Harvey/Mike mentor/mentee relationship will always be one of the many things I love about this show.
    -Rachel has actually been tolerable for a change, and I'm starting to think that maybe Mike and Rachel work better as friends. Good for her, that she has her own thing outside of Mike.
    -I like Zane and I kinda want to see him around more, so I too am torn between wanting to see him get screwed over by Hardman and not wanting to see him get screwed over. Merging the two firms would have been a pretty interesting move. I know Harvey is still bitter about not having his name on the door, but what Jessica told him was the truth. He's too impulsive etc...all of his traits are great for being the great lawyer that he is, but not for being partner. The great thing is, he in turn showed her that he's capable of being rational etc in this episode while she was flying off the handle...but him being partner still wouldn't work out. Right now it wouldn't get them out of their current mess and in some ways it would honestly only make matters worse for them as a whole, so I completely understand why she doesn't want to make him partner...yet.
    -I'm probably the only fan that chuckled at Donna's face when Harvey told Jessica she was beautiful and Donna thought he was talking to her. I mean it was a funny moment, more so than it being sad. From the beginning I just haven't been able to see Donna and Harvey that way, and honestly when they begin implying it was an unrequited love bit I cringed because it just detracted from Donna's natural awesomeness. It reduced her character to that girl pining after her boss and she's better than that. The show is better than that,and they don't need to rely on that..I don't really need romance at all in my Suits to be perfectly honest, but that is sort of what Mike and Rachel are for. The non-sexual dynamics of the characters are fascinating to me on their own. I heart the ambiguity. But if I were a shipper I'd ship the hell out of Donna and Louis some weird way it would totally work. LOL! I loved their revenge speech, and even though I rolled my eyes at Donna slapping Hardman twice, I found the conversation between her and Harvey about it absolutely hysterical.

  • Lala22 Feb 12, 2013

    Agree with everything you said. I feel exactly the same way about about Harvey and Donna, and Louis and Donna. Even Mike and Rachel would be so much better if they just remained friends. I am usually a sucker for romance, but like you said, Suits could work perfectly fine without that aspect.
    Jessica is a great character. If she was a man, there would be no controversy about her being ruthless or calculating. I heard that the writers intended for Pearson to be a man, but then they changed their mind. I guess the core traits remained the same.

  • bleumystique Feb 16, 2013

    Thanks! I know. I think that is part of why I'm a huge Jessica fan girl. I love Gina Torres but I just love the character, to me she's damn near Harvey Specter in a skirt, but professionally they balance each other out perfectly too.

  • Derpanos Feb 11, 2013

    Wow. You've said a lot and I enjoyed reading every word. xD

  • bleumystique Feb 16, 2013


  • graindesable Feb 10, 2013

    Louis : "I just wanted her to see me as I really am" so touching... Louis is the character I like most because of his many aspects : he can be touching, scary (when he told Hardman he was going to kill him, what a Master he was ! ), so human !
    As for the little thing between Donna and Harvey, how stunning ! Until then, I didn't know a character could be violent and looked so classy but when she hit Hardman!.. Beautiful ! Donna is an absolute Mistress !
    Between Harvey, Donna, Louis and Jessica, Mike is the only good hearted character of this show. What is funny is that the guy who doesn't have a diploma and who is not a professionnal lawer is the only one to have genuine good intentions...
    What a show ! What a great second season ! Has it been commissioned for a third ? Did I miss that ?

  • Lala22 Feb 12, 2013

    Yes it was. But there's only two episodes left this season:-(

  • KayWatkins Feb 10, 2013

    When Louis told Hardman he'd kill him, I LOL'd! I was like now something's gonna happen to Hardman and Louis will be the prime suspect! LOL!!!

    Yeah, my first thought about the whole Rachel/Harvard thing was she would ask Mike for a recomendation as an alumni. When that didn't happen, I figured when she gets in she'll eventually find out about him. Either way it started, it's just a matter of time til she finds out.

  • youngnan Feb 09, 2013

    Even in Angry Raging Bitch Mode, Jessica is still the best. Harvey is also the best. Mike is never the best but he was bearable this episode which I guess is a step up. Also stepping up, Rachel becoming a real character, so unexpected, that.

  • EddieJohnson3 Feb 09, 2013

    Is it just me or did they not write about the very last scene where Harvey called Jessica "Beautiful" and Donna thought he was talking about her! It was awesome, sad and touching all at the same time. There is still a lot to the Donna/Harvey thing Suits needs to unravel. All it due time.

  • emmairis Feb 09, 2013

    I'm loving this show more and more...

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