Suits "The Other Time" Review: Honor Among Lawyers

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Aug 21, 2013

Suits S03E06: "The Other Time"


If there was one weakness to Suits' latest romp down memory lane that I have to highlight—and I do, because I'm a total meanie killjoy—it was that the characters running around New York ten years ago were so much more likable than their current incarnations. Pothead Mike, Sucky Trevor, and Sassy Grandma returned to show us Mike's fabled fall from law school grace while an impossibly youthful-looking Harvey and always-fabulous Donna suffered under the corrupt rule of DA Cameron Dennis, ultimately leaving to fight the good fight over at Jessica's shiny new(ish) firm. Really, the only player in this history who suffered from her time in the spotlight was Jessica, who—DAMMIT, WOMAN, I'VE BEEN DEFENDING YOU FOR WEEKS! So Jessica is horrible and Harvey is basically giving her a taste of her own medicine with his quest to be the new managing partner. Given Harvey's decision to suddenly start regretting his betrayal now that he has his name on the door—or I guess it could be out of some deeper sense of loyalty—it would appear that Suits is gearing up for another round of Harvey and Jessica versus the world. 


Every ten years or so, Harvey skirts so close to becoming the exact opposite of what he always wanted to be when he grew up that he can smell the stench of dishonor following him, no matter how many times Donna gets his jacket dry cleaned. Ten years ago, he walked away from Cameron's unethical—but alarmingly successful—office to avoid following in his former mentor's footsteps. The decision completely altered the ultimate look of his career, the former Gordon Schmidt and Van Dyke offices, and even the lives of his "lowly" secretary and some brilliant stoner living with his loser BFF he wouldn't even meet for another several years. A decade after cutting ties with Cameron, Harvey is in a similar position, aiming to usurp Jessica using her very own methodology. 

We don't have the entire story about why Jessica and Hardman staged their original coup, but knowing Hardman (and, sadly, Jessica), and given Harvey's vague disapproval when Jessica let him in on the plan, it's not terribly outlandish to assume that their intentions were possibly less than noble, or at the very least, no more noble than Harvey's rationale for his own recent almost-coup. I'll readily admit that I'm often bored with and tired of the relentless "Harvey is always right and perfect and better than everyone" sentiments that comprise the status quo on a show so enamored with its main character, but this week, the Harvey love managed to not feel shoehorned in. Harvey wants to be an honorable guy. He's stumbled in the past. His beef with Jessica is just the latest setback in his struggle, but now that he's come clean to her, the ball is in her court. 

Jessica can be ruthless, petty, and manipulative, and maybe, considering what we've seen of her this season, and especially in this episode, some of her current misfortune is a case of "she had it coming." Harvey cut her some slack, though, and honestly, I was surprised that he did. He's been having a rough time lately, but at his core, Harvey wants to be a good, honorable person. Jessica said that there was no such thing as honor among lawyers, using the quip as cynical justification for her own betrayal of former superiors. Harvey believes the opposite, and though he strayed, he ultimately returned. We know that Jessica has the capacity to be a good person, too—she gave Harvey his big chance and financed his education, she's genuinely kind to Louis on occasion, and there was that episode with her sick ex-husband way back in Season 1. It's not too late for her to return to the fold, either.


And then there's Mike. It was a slow week for present-day Mike, whose time was split between arguing with Rachel about Stanford and playing attack dog for Harvey. But in flashbacks, we saw the whole life-ruining test-taking scam explode, destroying Mike's legitimately Harvard-educated future, too. I don't know that we necessarily needed to see the whole thing play out. We already generally knew the story. The details of Mike's past didn't completely alter our perception of him the way Donna and Harvey's sweet/sad/silly history changed them. 

They did it! With whipped cream! And Donna was totally into him and she actually looked kind of disappointed when his big surprise was a job rather than a date! And then present-day Harvey met Donna at their diner and said that her relationship with British Harvey bothered him! And it was sad and honest and heartfelt! Donna is so awesome. I'm glad that it's been established that historically, Donna has always been awesome. 


British Harvey, a.k.a. "Steve," however, is apparently every bit the slimeball he was assumed to be. Great. Watching Donna be all heartbroken and humiliated was so much fun last season. Can't wait to do it again. Meanwhile, the crumbs have been laid to lead the way back to Donna/Harvey for reals. But do we even want that? What do  you think? And what did you think of "The Other Time?"



CASE NOTES

– Mike dropped the F-bomb. So proud. 

– Someone in Suits' writers room really likes The Wire. Who doesn't? But really, why are we referencing it every week? Every. Single. Week. 

– I like Bertha. Let's get Bertha a job at Pearson Darby Specter. 

– Mike and Rachel returned to acting like children. I've revoked their relationship privileges. 

– Can opener!

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  • davidconnor52 Aug 30, 2013

    Mike and Rachel bores me to tears. They have no chemistry at all and sorry to the actress but Rachel just annoys me.

    Bring back Trevor and Jenny. Far more milage left in that story.

  • Vicky8675309 Aug 28, 2013

    I finally got caught up with this episode and enjoyed it.
    I can't believe all the comments about people not knowing what the cream (whip cream) was for...seriously, y'll really don't know? I can understand not understanding the can opener but not the whip cream

  • shocker713 Aug 25, 2013

    No explanation of the whipped cream or the can opener...but, we got to meet Harvey's dad (for once, someone on USA without daddy issues), we find out why Mike didn't go to Harvard, and finally, FINALLY, a USA flashback episode without those horrible bangs (I'm looking at you, In Plain Sight and Burn Notice).

  • peterspoor33 Aug 25, 2013

    The straight face Gabriel Mach tries to keep when Patrick calls Gary Cole "Tom Selleck" because of his badass "stache" ...Priceless!

  • ludoTV Aug 24, 2013

    Great review! I totally agree watching Trevor being a dick again with Mike as sidekick was unnecessary and therefore boring. On the other hand, the early days of Donna and Harvey was excellent minus the substandard wig they gave Donna (seriously people, what's up with crap wigs in flashback eps? is there a contest between shows for the worst ever wig? this wasn't as bad as The Vampire Diaries but awful.)

    The whole backstory for Donna and Harvey (and Cameron & Jessica) made sense and since I am often critical of weak plots on Suits, credit where it's due... It also made total sense for me that Harvey left Cameron. Cheating is never a one time occurrence so staying with a dirty prosecutor was never, in my opinion, a real option for Harvey. Sure Jessica may be wily and ambitious and have plotted a corporate takeover but that is on a different league to a corrupt official.

  • Crispie Aug 24, 2013

    I need a day....

  • ReeferMadness Aug 24, 2013

    Donna is hotter than Rachel.

  • Akkustikkoppler Aug 24, 2013

    Old shit is... old! No one cares. No one want's to know.
    Everybody get's it: stories are told, current stories won't make it - so let' come up with old ones.
    Suits are gone - na, they are now getting H&M;.

  • Akkustikkoppler Aug 24, 2013

    206! 206! ...my ass! Ass [sic!] if we haven't known already.

  • Akkustikkoppler Aug 24, 2013

    Spicing up Suits like that makes me wanna go Sizzeling Fajita instead. Or Corn Muffins from the Luxembourg (200W, 70th St., NYC). Ah, I'd rather go for them Corn Muffins, honestly!

    This is now coming to a turning point - in the 3rd season of a so far challenging and way more: engaging series we've seen over the course of the lat semi-decade (starting times, that'd be only challenged by GoT and that's a different subject).

    Middle Earth, erm: King's Landing vs. Downtown lawyers explained by instantly introduced historical-hysterical stories kinda is playing some card. But my guess is: now the are bluffing, double-pair the most!

    Im off for craps - more cheerful that is.

  • Pricecomeback Aug 23, 2013

    Does anyone know where I post potential spoilers or articles with spoilers etc. I'm new to this site and don't want to get in trouble. I hear the punishment is death. Is there an official place on here or just in comments etc.. thanks for the info in advance you rock

  • bleumystique Aug 23, 2013

    Oh "The Other Time". Let's see, this episode was fantastic if you're A.) A Harvey and Donna shipper and/or B.) A Trevor fan. Unfortunately for me, I'm neither. I didn't hate the episode, it wasn't horrible, I didn't want to pull my hair out after watching it, and it wasn't irritating as say the first two of this season, it was pointless filler though. It was an entire episode filled with things that we didn't really need to see. It wasn't a big secret that Donna and Harvey slept together, or at least wanted to sleep together in the past. We already knew Harvey left Cameron because of his unethical behavior and he begged Awesome Donna to come with him. We already knew Mike screwed up his chance at going to Harvard and so on and so forth. So most of the episode was filled with things I wasn't particularly interested in seeing. At all. And I'm sorry, that includes all the Donna and Harvey flirtation and him showing up at her apartment for sexytimes and whipped cream action. Every time an overt Donna and Harvey thing is implied I cringe a little bit, and there is some eye rolling too. I just hate the fact that in season one, we had a fun, awesome, close, platonic bond of amazingess that I adored and it hadn't crossed my mind once that anything could come from it or anything ever did come from it, and then season two rolled around and blew what was a great platonic bond to hell, but I digress. Filler episode.

    Right. Jessica. Inhale. Exhale. How stunning was Gina Torres in this episode? Categorically stunning. Also, I want her clothes. Just all of them, and I'm not even into fashion like that usually. But Jessica. I'll start off by saying that I can't help but get pissed off with the way they chose to "flesh out" her character, in let's say the past season and a half. She remains one of my favorite characters, and I can always defend her, but their idea of character evolution has been deplorable, and it can make it pretty damn difficult to do so. I remember in an interview Aaron Korsh had said something along the lines of writing Harvey to stroke his ego, and he wrote Jessica to put himself in check. Basically, Jessica was always meant to be the one who gave Harvey the reality check. She was always meant to be the one to put him in his place when he got too far. She was meant to be the one to humble him and reign him in. Somewhere along the way, that all got shot to hell, and I don't know why that is, and I can't lie, it frustrates the hell out of me, that a great character has been tampered with so much, that she comes across unlikable and irredeemable to most of the fandom. Plus I cringe at the bitchy black female trope. Stop it. Just Stop. The Jessica Pearson I fell in love with was poised, graceful, elegant, classy, witty, smart, strategic and wise. She had Harvey's loyalty and respect, always and forever, and it was a mutual respect and loyalty. She was the one who knew just what to say to make the great Harvey Specter appear abashed and embarrassed like a child being scolded by his mother. She mattered enough where someone who professes to not care, was willing to make silent peace offerings like wheeling in tea trolleys. I still think of Jessica that way, even though they go out of their way to paint her as vindictive, manipulative, and ruthless...in such a way that she's seen unfavorably when characters who behave similarly are not. She went from a three dimensional character to a one dimensional one. You can't have a fully complex, multi-faceted fantastic character when you only choose to show them one way, and it contradicts how the character was initially. Harvey? Oh we see all sides to Harvey, so that even when he's being shown at his worst, they'll snap him back into place because he's the lead after all. They'll do it with Mike, sort of. And we've been forced to accept that Awesome Donna does no wrong (even when she does, and when she does, it goes unaddressed and she rarely faces the full recuperation of actions. Because she's Donna.). I'm getting off track. It's almost as if the writers themselves have forgotten who and what Jessica Pearson is supposed to be, because it changes so frequently I practically have whiplash. I'm a Jessica fan but I can understand why for other fans of the show it's difficult reconciling the Jessica of season 3 with the Jessica of season 1 for example.

    But no. I don't think this episode painted her in a horrible light. I chose to look at it from a different perspective. She's always been a strategic person, and so has Daniel. Honestly, I felt like they tried to make some connections to the past and the present, just so that Gina Torres could actually appear in an episode that was mostly about Mike, Donna, and Harvey. So they reached to draw a connection, and the best connection they could make was Honorable Harvey telling Jessica about his coup upfront let's draw a parallel to the coup she was a part of in the past, and further make her seem like a wretched person for not being noble enough to tell the managing partners back then about her and Hardman's plan to overthrow them, but let's not give enough background on that to actually confirm that she was a horrible and far from noble person for doing so. Wonderful. The way I see it, the bigger parallel of this show is the mentor/mentee relationship. Mike is to Harvey, what Harvey is to Jessica. But before we had the Mike/Harvey dynamic and the Harvey/Jessica dynamic, there was the Jessica and Daniel one. We know Daniel is a slimeball, but the last flashback episode gave us some insight into the Daniel/Jessica bond. Daniel was the one who took Jessica under his wing, much like Jessica did to Harvey. He showed her the works. He was her main mentor, and her loyalty was to him. If he planned a coup, why wouldn't she have went along with it?! How is it any different than whenever she and Harvey work together to do something? Plot, plan, take over? I love Harvey, and he's amusing as hell, but it isn't like he ever gives a crap about any of the other partners at the firm. Jessica was his person, the only one he ever really cared about because of their relationship. I don't think it's too hard to believe that it was the same way with Jessica and Daniel, especially when I think of how upset she was when she learned the truth about Hardman. It was personal. Just like Harvey and Jessica's relationship has always been a personal one as well as a professional one, which means she would feel betrayed by him when he revealed that he was planning a coup. I could only see Harvey's coup business as Jessica "getting a taste of her own medicine" if she was actually betraying people she had a close allegiance to, and while we can only rely on speculation, I'm willing to bet that no one at Gordon Schmidt & Van Dyke mattered to her, or had a personal relationship with her, like Daniel did. So pragmatic, strategic, business minded Jessica would have seen a move like that as just business nothing personal. Whereas Harvey making a move against her was all personal.

    I'm still tired of the Harvey does no wrong thing. Love him to pieces, but I'm still waiting for him to actually grasp his role and his wrongdoing in all of this mess, but so far that isn't happening. His "seeing the light" came in the form of him remembering his past with Donna and Cameron, and coming clean to Jessica as the credits were rolling? Not any number of things that he did wrong up until this point? Not him apologizing for the adult equivalent of a temper-tantrum? Hell, he still got what he wanted out of it, even though technically he probably didn't deserve it! Okay.

    Other notes:

    • There will never be a time where I will ever like Trevor. He was just nothing but trouble, and no story about him bawling his eyes out and wanting to adopt Mike will change the fact that he was just not a great person to be around.
    • Can Bertha come back? I loved her.
    • I'm actually thrilled that we still don't know what they do with that damn can opener. I likes me a little mystery.
    • Rewind was a great flashback. This one? Not so much to me, but I will gladly welcome another if it means seeing Harvey with his father again. LOVED it. All the freakin feels.
    • I'm gonna need to take a day too Louis. LOL! I loves me some Litt. He makes the smallest of scenes count, every time.
    • Observant Donna always amuses me.
    • So we all knew Stephen was shady. But then Harvey admits that it bothered him that Stephen was in the picture (cringe), so does this mean Donna is just supposed to go back to not dating and secretly pining after Harvey and taking fierce loyalty to an almost nauseating level? Because...please don't.
    • If Mike wants to confess so damn much, why won't he just take his arse to a church? I mean, being open in relationships is essential, I know, but must he tell Rachel everything that's ever happened in his life from the second he came out of his mom's hoo ha? Sorry, I just, I really give less than a damn about the two of them together. In ideal world, my Suits would be without romance and tinglies brewing between any of the main characters. It'd be about awesome friendships, dynamics, cool cases, wicked banter, and awesome fashion.
    • "The Other Time" will always make me think of two things. Harvey and Donna of course, but also that elusive "other time" when Harvey and Jessica smoked weed in one of their offices. A flashback of that would have been something kind of hilarious...or offensive, I'm not even sure anymore. Maybe both.
    • Donna and Harvey had some great bantering going on. I love good banter, and they both give good...banter.
    • The rooftop must be Jessica and Harvey's special place. We got an origin of "the rooftop" scene. Maybe he can wheel a tea trolley the size of Texas up there and she'll forgive him. Bonus points if he steals Darby's super expensive tea leaves.
    • That mustache! Ugh!!!
    • I MISS GRAMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ILUVTV10 Aug 23, 2013

    Ahh. Everything you said about Jessica yes yes yes. I agree with it so much. Thats whats missing. I think they were trying to show oh she deserves what Harvey is doing because she did it, but in my mind there wasn't a personal connection with those partners. Daniel Hardman was the only personal connection within that firm she admitted that he made her feel special he was her mentor of course she would go along with him, why wouldn't she thats loyalty. The same way Donna and Mike were down to help Harvey with his own coup. We don't know the backstory to that so I can't really get with the idea she is getting what she deserves because the difference is she knows Harvey, she groomed Harvey and she puts tons of trust in Harvey this and this whole takeover was personal not professional from the get go. Think about it, as soon as Harvey got his name on the door he was over trying to take over, thats all he wanted. I don't think Harvey ever wanted to be managing partner because he thought he would do a better job than Jessica (which is probably the reason Daniel and Jessica took over the firm in the first place, they thought they were more capable who knows!), I think he was reacting to his hurt feelings after 2.16 and reacted off on impulse and didn't think everything through. So now that he has what he wanted I'm reminded of in the flashback he says something like "I wasn't thinking about what I wanted to do in 10 years, it was who I wanted to do it with" I think present day Harvey realized. He chose Jessica for a reason, he admired her and he always wanted to work beside her as an equal and with his name on the door now he was getting just that so why try to take her down when that's not what he wants, he doesn't want to be a lawyer without Jessica by his side.

    So for people to be all "she deserves it" or "why is she so surprised" it's because thats a personal betrayal. It always hurts when someone you care about is willing to go behind your back and do something horrible to you. In this case take her firm away when we know that honestly that's what Jessica's main priority is, b/c we don't know much about her personally we know the firm is like her baby and Harvey trying to take that away from her has to suck. Esp because it's not the first time Harvey has done things like this (ie the huge Mike lie) this was her breaking point. I'm curious to see how they bounce back from that because after so much distrust in that relationship for the past 2 seasons, I don't know if that can be fully restored.

  • Interestingtv Aug 23, 2013

    Well to be fair we don't actually know that Harvey and Donna did it. I seem to remember Donna saying she hadn't slept with Harvey. Now we all know that Donna can lie with the best of them (double entendre intended), but it is possible that Donna and Harvey were all over each other but something happened and they didn't "seal the deal" so to speak...part of me wants to see it that way so i think i'll go with that. I have always wanted Donna and Harvey tho...

  • eumneme Aug 23, 2013

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