Suits "Heartburn" Review: You Can Pick Your Nose, You Can Pick Your Friends...

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Mar 28, 2014

Suits S03E16: “Heartburn”

I will admit that I was skeptical when I realized that "Heartburn" was going to become an emergency-inspired Louis Litt love fest, mostly because Suits is kind of horrible to Louis on a regular basis and I wasn't thrilled with the idea of watching everyone weep at his bedside only to turn around and screw him over one episode later. In actuality, however, "Heartburn" was a surprisingly self-aware episode and the weeping felt sincere, and once Suits decided to go with the Pearson-Specter "family" angle, well, that explained a lot. Families are weird and tend to be full of people who certainly love each other, but don't necessarily like each other. 

Louis Litt's awesome morning devolved into a crappy morning and then a really crappy morning when he keeled over during closing arguments during some rando case that, like so many of the cases on Suits, didn't really matter. "Heartburn," more than any other episode of Suits to date, was exceptional at highlighting that aspect of the series. The best episodes, the most interesting stories, are those that remain within the firm itself and revolve around the core players at Pearson-Specter. 

And where is everyone as of the conclusion of "Heartburn"? Oh, they're all over the place. Rachel panicked when she saw the bazillion-dollar bill for her law school tuition, and then she panicked some more when Jessica revealed that Louis hadn't included the tuition coverage in Rachel's rehire. What was initially painted as a huge defeat for Rachel ultimately ended up being an impressive victory and a promising start to her future as an attourney when, with a little help from the usual suspects, she managed to persuade Jessica to honor the verbal agreement Louis made by arguing that making an investment in Harvey—Jessica paid for his Harvard education back in the day—has served the firm well. Cracks about the accuracy of that sentiment aside, Rachel's point was made, though I totally agree with Donna that if Rachel had been honest with Louis about what she was asking for, instead of tip-toeing around with that "my friend made a verbal agreement" crap, she probably could have saved herself a lot of anguish. Whatever, it all worked out. 

Mike also landed a victory—but his put him in an uncomfortable position when it resulted in a promising job offer away from the ticking time bomb that is his law career. A gig as an investment banker would allow Mike to maintain his swanky New York lifestyle, but would smash the pesky glass ceiling that's been blocking his way at Pearson-Specter because his (lack of) law school credentials theoretically wouldn't matter anymore. The decision seems obvious, but there's really no Suits without the Mike-and-Harvey dream team, so I think Mike's answer seems obvious, especially in the wake of all this "family" brouhaha. 

I can't help but question the wisdom of keeping Mike at Pearson-Specter, though. Even if Mike decides that he doesn't mind working hard while knowing that he will never be promoted or publicized for fear of revealing the truth about his employment, wouldn't someone, anyone, internally at the firm eventually start to find it odd that the best and brightest associate is never rewarded for his awesomeness? He's Harvey Specter's righthand man and heir apparent. Sidwell noted that given Mike's brilliance, Mike would probably be running the firm before he turned 40, and Sidwell can't be the only person to harbor such observations. The firm is in a rough position: Promote Mike and garner unwanted attention. Don't promote Mike, and eventually garner unwanted attention. Mike (probably) isn't going anywhere, however, so I'm curious to see how the situation plays out. I don't think it's a conflict that can be wrapped up in the two remaining episodes of Season 3, but it's certainly a strong-enough story to carry us into Season 4. 

But let's finally address the center around which the whole of "Heartburn" revolved: Louis's brush with death inspired him to be proactive about his relationship with Sheila, and he proposed! And she accepted! And then, as tends to happen when proposals are rushed in the heat of the moment, the pair fought about the logistics of their marriage: She's based in Boston and he's in New York. Neither one had any intention of leaving a thriving career to start over again, but Sheila came around to ditching Harvard for Louis. She couldn't, however, abandon her no-kids stance, and Louis refused to budge on his own desire to be a dad. I totally refuse to take sides here. Sheila's willingness to give up Harvard was huge, but asking Louis to abandon his dreams of fatherhood is a totally different argument, and relationships that rely on quid pro quo to function generally aren't the happiest or healthiest. I think there's certainly still hope for Louis and Lady Louis. They need to talk. I need them to talk because I love them. They certainly love each other, but when it comes to envisioning an ideal solution for them, I'm stumped. 

Donna took the opportunity to tell Harvey to call Scottie and apologize in the wake of Louis and Sheila's break-up. I'm still trying to understand that angle—Donna seems so, so eager to make Harvey/Scottie work that I suspect she might be trying to overcompensate for her own feelings. But I might also be delusional. What do you think?

As for what I think about "Heartburn" as a whole: Even though I was initially skeptical about the premise, the execution completely won me over. I'll admit that I'm a sucker for Louis and I tend to be a little sensitive to the casual abuse he's dealt at the hands of his co-workers, but the presentation of the Pearson-Specter dynamics as those of a family repaint the members of the firm in a different, more sympathetic light. Suits needed this episode, and it needed it at this time, in the wake of all the trauma and misery of the first half of the season, and I am so excited as we move forward. So excited.


– "I know, I'm an asshole." So meta, Harvey. 

– Donna: "You let the associates raise your blood pressure." Louis: "Because they're stupid." <3

– Is there still hope for Sheila and Louis? (SAY YES.)

What'd you think of "Heartburn"?

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  • TatraFan Mar 31, 2014

    "I know, I'm an asshole." So meta, Harvey.-- THIS IS NOT METAPHYSICAL AT ALL... It is a statement of fact. Like object x has property y... It states nothing further about object x other than it has property y. Now, if you say that property y is some form of watered down version of a idealized abstract concept than you would speaking in metaphysical terms! At best, perhaps, Harvey has stated an ontological fact about himself--one that is not very deep.

  • Atreukjm Mar 30, 2014

    Best episode of the season by a mile! This season has in my opinion been very lack lustred so far but this episode actually managed getting me to feel.

  • Samantha_101 Mar 30, 2014

    - I really like new Harvey! I do hope they don't "break" him!
    - How fabulous is Donna? I love how she rushed to Louis' bedside!
    - Rachel was awesome when she negotiated with Jessica, but annoying when she "confronted" Louis... Could we please have more awesome Rachel, and less annoying Rachel?

  • bryanphillippi1 Mar 30, 2014

    Sheila and Louis is most likely not going to happen, especially with Sheila now starring in 'Surviving Jack.'

  • vampman87 Mar 30, 2014

    I think Louis might have been more receptive to Sheila's "no kids EVER" rule if it weren't for his parents. His parents have been hounding him for years to have kids, essentially making all his other accomplishments worthless. (Exhibit A would be when he announced his Senior Partnership, and they practically said "so what? When are we gonna get grandchildren?" Louis has an inferiority complex and strives to be a winner at everything. This caused him to be quite the bully in season 1, and was even referred to this season as to why he hated Howard so much (Howard never learned from Louis's drill sergeant methods and was a failure until AFTER he left the firm.) so I believe in his eyes he will always think his parents will view him as a loser until he shows them Litt Jr.

    Rachel is both awesome and INCREDIBLY stupid this episode. On one hand, she successfully waived the Harvard rule and got Jessica to sign off on paying her tuition... but on the other hand she got furious at Louis for pretty much nothing. Yes, Season 1 Louis WAS a complete A-hole, but after the ballet episode Louis has shown a great respect for her and most likely would've realized his mistake and honored his promise (or at least try to, since Jessica was the final roadblock.). Getting mad at Louis was a complete waste of time, though I am glad Rachel did SOMETHING this episode to make her look competent and not just housewifey like she's been the past 3 episodes.

    Once again Harvey seems to be pushed back to being the wise mentor and not the active lawyer. Yeah, he did threaten Tony Can'tspellhislastnamepolus, but other than that (and convince Jessica to pay Rachel's tuition) all he did was talk to Mike about the consequences of doing ANYTHING! We really need to get him into the fray again... it's weird seeing him taking a backseat on cases. Even he seems to be thinking that taking on managing is more boring than he thought it'd be.

    Anyone know why Donna took it upon herself to visit Louis? Donna and Louis are friendly, yes, but I always assumed she merely tolerated him and not really thought of him as a FRIEND. Her tearing up at the thought of him dying really seemed out out of place and I suspect it was just put in there for the promos to make us think Harvey had the heart attack.

    And now Mike has a job offer to be an investment banker and according to the promos everyone is telling him to take the job because it's a perfect out to his no-win situation... yeah, considering the series's been renewed for a 4th season with 16 episodes, I'm thinking no. "The Episode That Will Change Everything" might mean that Mike gets promoted, cause he has a way better shot of that happening than he does actually leaving!

    7.8 out of 10. Great Louis-centered episode, but the rest of the characters just seem off somehow...

  • docspector Mar 30, 2014

    "she got furious at Louis for pretty much nothing. "

    What are things like in your world, where cheating someone out of $200,000 or so is "pretty much nothing"?

    "Anyone know why Donna took it upon herself to visit Louis?"
    A) because she's a genuinely nice person.
    B) because part of her job is maintaining professional relationships on behalf of her boss, and she is VERY GOOD at her job.

    "'The Episode That Will Change Everything' might mean that Mike gets promoted, cause he has a way better shot of that happening than he does actually leaving!"

    The promotion associates are chasing is making partner. This is a huge thing, because A) it signals acceptance into the top tier of the firm, and B) it makes you a profit participant in the firm. Mike is still at least 3 years away from his "class" being considered for partnership, and for many, many reasons, he will never be a partner in a law firm. See comments elsewhere in this thread for the more realistic projection, summarized thusly: Mike takes the job, and is good at it but not as good as he is being a lawyer guided by Harvey. Plus, he STILL has to keep his secret, because it would destroy that career, too. Meanwhile, he's still keeping up with the doings at Pearson-Spector because his live-in girlfriend still works there. After half a season or so of Mike being away, and increasingly unhappy about it, they'll engineer an opportunity for him to come back.

  • matthewaaronweber Mar 30, 2014

    Seriously loved it. I love this show, there have been very few bad episodes.

    I don't think that Louis and Sheila get back together. From things I've read online it doesn't look like it's in the cards.

    Mike has to stay at the firm or there's no series.

    Donna definitely loves Harvey. It'll be interesting to see if this develops in the the Josh/Donna debacle that the West Wing went down until they finally got it right.

    Sad that there are only two episodes left.

  • othsmallsuplost Mar 29, 2014

    I was really disappointed with that episode! I really thought Harvey would be the one to have the heart attack (obvs) a that it would last the whole episode. Louis got it, fine, but why not add a little more tension to it. Will he survive? will he die?! Instead they just wrapped things up in 5 minutes and moved on to a regular Suits episode. It was a fun episode and a good one but they really built things up for nothing with last week's promo so I feel conned!

  • CTHeartthrob Mar 29, 2014

    This is the kind of show that is full of protagonists that are all very unlikeable. I cannot think of a single character on this show I would want to spend a minute of my time with. They are all very ruthless, competitive, and dishonest people and I would run as fast as I could from them in real life.

    That also makes for some entertaining TV. I do enjoy watching the show, because I love to hate the characters.

  • Bayleis84 Mar 29, 2014

    It's interesting how my perception of Louis has changed since season 1. At first I couldn't stand him with his smug face and constant petty remarks, then somehow he developed (or I got to know him better) into this acquired taste, who eventually became my favourite character. Seriously, Harvey and Mike are not as interesting, nor as heartwarming as watching Louis's shenanigans and that is probably my main reason for watching Suits at the moment.
    SO that being said, I was very pleased and touched by this episode, especially when the usual dismissive attitude towards Louis was, for a change, replaced by a true family-kind-of-awkward affection. I loved it!

  • othsmallsuplost Mar 29, 2014

    you're right! Louis found his way to our hearts and the scene where he hugs Harvey and asks him to be his best man was very emotionnal! It's weird because I've always felt their friendship was a one way street since Harvey only mentionned it when he needed something from Louis. But seeing him so shaken up by the news was really touching!

  • docspector Mar 29, 2014

    Louis' job is to supervise the associates, but the right way to see him is not as "boss" but as "teacher". A teacher who accepts substandard work is not doing the students any good; If you have a teacher who demands the very best you can do, every time, you may hate every minute of it at the time but at the end, you'll be better. If it's a schoolteacher, you'll learn more; if it's a person teaching you how to do your job, you'll be better at your job; if you're a new military recruit, you'll be more likely to go home alive and in one piece.

    To be effective in this role, the teacher must have a very thorough command of the subject, must be able to recognize capability in the students, and must be able to motivate the students in all circumstances.

  • ilyakipnis5 Mar 29, 2014

    Rick Hoffman confirmed that all hope for Louis/Sheila is gone. *Cue Nightwish music* "This is...the end of all hope!"

    Also, am I the only one that sees so much of Rachel's buildup as foreshadowing to "ummm, hint hint, she's not naturally cut out to be a lawyer because she's a good human being!"

    Because as far as I see it, the law profession at Pearson Specter turns people into assholes, whether slowly, or quickly. Louis is an ass. Jessica is an ass (she's an ass on the good guys' side, but come on, she hasn't had a relationship in forever, and if you get on her bad side, hoo boy), Harvey's arrogant douchebag exterior was blending into his inner self until Mike came along, and Mike himself is starting to show glimpses of rat-bastardism when he puts clients before his conscience (which, of course, Harvey tells him to do).

    Rachel, thus far, has shown that while she doesn't lack backbone or ambition, she does lack emotional fortitude, and has so many wonderful qualities as a human being (a big one being that she's so trusting, another one being that she's so sympathetic to anyone, and so on...), that are absolutely fatal to have as a lawyer. As Harvey said "if they see that you care, they'll walk all over you".

    As for Harvey, I really hope that the writers don't give us a "horrible end, Mike and everyone except Rachel in jail!" I mean if push came to shove and Mike had to leave to jump to investment banking, he can wriggle terms on his resume, and after a few years in the IB biz, just drop that from the resume altogether, and move on with his life (with Rachel!), hang out with Harvey for drinks, buy Donna exotic coffees because he can, and snark with Jessica.

    I really do hope that Korsh keeps that out job card in play though. I mean, imagine a spin-off, except with Harvey joining Mike, and Donna joining Harvey, with Rachel as permanent junior counsel =P. Okay, fine, full disclosure, I loved Wall Street, I loved NUMB3RS, and a show that combines the best of Suits, NUMB3RS, and Wall Street would be through the roof on this end =P

  • docspector Mar 29, 2014

    "Because as far as I see it, the law profession at Pearson Specter turns people into assholes,"

    Law practice takes many forms, from solo practitioners who take on whatever legal work presents itself by walking in the front door, to large firms with hundreds or even thousands of lawyers working there. That last category is known as "biglaw" and is what Pearson Spector is supposed to be, although P-S isn't actually that big. The biglaw model does tend to chew up and spit out people who aren't hard enough for the job... but the viciousness of it is not inherently present in all lawyers, nor even all biglaw lawyers.

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