Suits "Blood in the Water" Review: It Ain't Easy Being Louis

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Suits S02E12: “Blood in the Water”

You know, I’m starting to get the feeling that a lot of Harvey and Jessica’s problems could have been avoided if they'd just treated Louis more like a respected coworker and less like that kid no one really wanted on the team. At least until the teaming-up-with-Hardman thing, I don’t really understand what motive they had for treating Louis so badly outside of the fact that he isn’t one of the cool kids. It’s been repeatedly stated on Suits that Louis is a great lawyer in his own right. We’ve seen him bring his area of specialization to Harvey’s assistance (usually via Mike) more than once, including the instance in tonight's “Blood in the Water” where, frankly, he was on his way out and had absolutely no reason to stay late and go over contracts with Mike.

Louis is no picnic, and if I was one of his associates, I’d probably take the Harold approach to things and just pee in my cubicle the whole time, but hey, Louis gets results. Employment under Louis is like lawyer boot camp with Sgt. Litt. It sucks, and he absolutely occasionally demands too much, and no he isn’t always fair, but Pearson Hardman is a stronger firm because of him. The candidates who seek jobs at Pearson Hardman (with the exception of Mike) know what they’re signing up for. They know that they’ll be better lawyers by the time Louis is done with them.

To Jessica’s credit, she made some real progress toward mending relations with Louis following the Great Pearson Hardman Civil War Smackdown of 2012. Initially, her “Louis Litt Rehabilitation Program” sounded like bullshit, but once she explained the rationale behind it and 'fessed up to her own experience with being manipulated by Hardman, I was willing to let it go.

Unfortunately, Harvey the attack dog is having a harder time letting things go. Dude needs to chill. On the defense after a valued client announced plans to depart for a rival firm, citing the Hardman blah blah as his reasoning, Harvey yelled at Mike, then he freaked out at Louis. Admittedly, Mike kind of had it coming. I mean, you show up late for work on the day you’re supposedly “getting your shit together?” You couldn’t have waited ‘til after work to throw out the week-old pizza boxes and vacuum up your half-smoked joints? Yeah, Mike had it coming, but like Donna said, he needed a smack, not a face full of Harvey the Hulk.

Louis was possibly even less deserving of the wrath of Harvey, mostly because, rather than actually talk to Louis like a capable, professional fellow senior partner who, at this point, probably has a lot to lose himself if Pearson Hardman goes under, Harvey decided to do the middle school thing and freak out over exactly how Louis went about becoming a partner. We get it, Harvey. It was a dick move. Louis feels really bad about it. This is getting tedious and you look like an ass. Even I thought the idea of Louis actively shipping his best associates off to a rival firm purely to screw over Jessica and Harvey seemed incredibly unlikely. Ambitious is a good word for Louis, or even opportunistic despite the somewhat negative connotations behind it, but not vindictive, at least, not in this case.

Still, I was surprised when Louis went to Allison for a partnership at the other firm. The man bleeds Pearson Hardman. But at the same time, he knows he’s not well liked. He knows Harvey is Jessica’s favorite. Harvey straight-up said that he and Jessica wanted to get rid of Louis, but they couldn’t due to his position, which was totally not true at all—on Jessica’s part, at least—but really, after everything that’s happened this season, was it a stretch to believe? No, not at all.

In the end, Louis assisted in saving the day by finding the flaws in the contract Harvey’s client was offered. Jessica shot Harvey down when he pushed to have the “Hardman” in “Pearson Hardman” replaced with something else, probably Specter, and came down on him like the Harvard-educated goddess that she is when she found out about what he did to Louis. Harvey subsequently ripped up Louis’s letter of resignation. OH THANK GOD. I was getting worried there for a second.

Still, I’m not entirely convinced that this means Harvey and Louis are suddenly BFFs. They never were, really, but in the beginning, according to Louis, they were at least amiable. They weren’t Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, perpetually locked in an endless chase. They were Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog. Their rivalry ended when the workday ended. Somewhere along the line, Harvey became incapable of leaving the rivalry and competitiveness at the office, and separating his professional and personal feelings. Given Mike’s disbelief that there was ever a time when Harvey and Louis were at least civil with one another, it seems that Harvey’s evolution (devolution?) has been a long, slow development and it would be interesting to explore when that began, why it came to be, and whether Harvey can recover from it.

But even though Louis stayed, all is still far from well at Pearson Hardman. Clients are still leaving in droves, having lost faith in the strength of the firm. Our first casualty of war was poor, neurotic Harold, who found himself unceremoniously cast out by Louis when a client bailed even though his work was flawless. Mike tried to negotiate for his job, but Louis’s asking price was just too much. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I’m kind of on Mike’s side here. Louis agreed to let Harold stay if Mike vouched for every piece of work Harold touched. He’d have to either double check everything or trust Harold to get it right the first time and if anything was amiss, it was on Mike. Mike is making a real effort to get his life together, finally, and given that his own position with Pearson Hardman is perpetually on the edge of termination, he just can’t stick his neck out like that. It’s an unrealistic expectation to have that he could handle it and that Harold would never ever ever screw up again. Ever.

Harold will be better off with the new firm—brownie points to Mike for setting that up—because he’s not incompetent. He’s just anxious, and while Louis’s method works well with most of the associates that come through Pearson Hardman’s doors, it doesn’t work with all of them. Harold was never going to be the lawyer Pearson Hardman needed him to be, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a great lawyer somewhere else. I'm still gonna miss him, though. And his manatee tattoo. Shark, whatever.

What do you say? Is Mike getting his shit together? Does Harvey need to take a chill pill? Was Louis patching Mike up from his personal first aid kit the best thing ever?



CASE NOTES

– Donna Paulsen Sass of the Night: “Do you wanna talk about it? I have ice cream.” “It’s 8am.” “I know, that’s why God created Chunky Monkey.” Plus the entire ode to Chunky Monkey that ensued. A+.

– I love the smell of burning toner in the morning: Harold and the copier. Oh man, I’ve been there, son. Set one of those babies on fire once. TOTAL ACCIDENT. Also, apparently toner gives you a terrible, awful rash. Who knew?

– I feel like we need to work on rehabilitating Harvey’s likeability for the rest of the season. I’m concerned. He used to be so charming! Also, I don’t like not liking Harvey.

– Every time Harvey threatens to fire Mike I LOL because it’s cute the way Suits thinks we’ll buy that ever happening.

– OMG that time Rachel totally ran into that random dude while chasing after Louis. MEGHAN MARKLE U OK?

– Tess’s husband punched Mike in the face. Yay. Can that story be done now? Cool. Thnx.