Suits "Live to Fight" Review: Just Another Day at the Snake Pit

Suits S0E12: "Live to Fight" 

Oh man, this is getting ugly. I guess that's what happens when you have the least professional work environment ever, where everyone is screwing every one else in every connotation of the word, and years of resentment and questionable decision making—both professionally and privately—blow up all because someone decided to hire a law school reject with a freakish memory. This is all Harvey's fault. This is all Mike's fault. This is all everybody's fault. Suits was even kind enough to grace Gretchen with some blame in “Live to Fight,” having been the one who called the press to gush about Mike's "meteoric rise" and start Sheila's dangerous scrutiny of Harvard's alumni files. 

Sensing that something wasn't right in her meticulously cultivated walk-in Rolodex, it was Lady Louis who anonymously emailed Gibbs with the accusation that Mike MIGHT be a fraud. That part is important. It's the wiggle room Suits is going to have to rely on to inevitably hand-wave this latest round of Mike's-secret-ruins-everything and make all those annoying problems go away—like Gibbs exaggerating a bank fraud case against Donna's daddy in an effort to get her to dish some dirt on Harvey. I say "exaggerating" because Suits made it pretty clear that Papa Paulsen was on the more inept side of "sleazy real estate developer" rather than deliberately amoral, but bank fraud is a federal offense pretty much any way you spin it. Even if "everybody is doing it." Especially if "everybody is doing it." That's how you bring down the worst economic downturn since our grandparents were braving the dust storms of Tatooine to get a log of welfare cheese. Anyway, Papa Paulsen obviously cared for his daughter. He was just a moron and Donna's taste in men suddenly makes SO. MUCH. SENSE. 



Harvey's flashback to that time he threatened Donna's dad into turning to fraud rather than sink Donna's 401K into his latest bad investment, paired with Mike's gross mind games with Poor Rachel and her appalling concern for her family, friends, and future, made me wonder if Suits was trying to channel some Fifty Shades ambiance, though. I'm not talking about the badly portrayed BDSM stuff or the tampon scene (LOL, the tampon scene). I mean that whole "I'm-just-controlling-you-and-manipulating-you-because-I-love-you-so-much" part. Mike was, as always, the biggest offender. The scene when he was in bed, grilling Rachel and belittling her for all of her admittedly not-great attempts to fix their latest crisis felt so wrong and off. Mike came off as that kind of controlling boyfriend who constantly tells his partner that he KNOWS they want to leave him and that they don't really love him because if they REALLY CARED they'd be doing X, Y, and Z to show it, and then there is crying and increasing isolation from family and friends, increasing second-guessing of every possible thought an individual can have. Donna told Rachel that there was a difference between thinking something and saying it out loud, but for men like Mike, there isn't.  I have a special hate in my heart for those boyfriends. Those boyfriends are scumbags. 

Harvey isn't much better. He's older and wiser and the therapy probably helped, but it's not like his intervention in Donna's life is confined to that one incident with her father seven years ago, and while he may have sincerely been looking out for a woman he still cares deeply for, his attitude toward her anger smacked of patriarchal condescension. He was invited into that situation and that relationship as a business partner. The nuances of Donna's relationship with her father weren't included in that. 



Relationships are hard, complicated and messy. Relationships on Suits are all that with a heaping side of ego to choke down. Louis couldn't believe that Sheila outed Mike even though it made perfect sense considering what we know of her character. Sheila has that same ruthless self-preservation that Louis relies on himself, and their previous romance is irrelevant, which is why Louis attempting to leverage it against Sheila to get her to retract her accusation backfired so spectacularly. Conversely, Jessica's past with Jeff Malone is everything right now and it makes perfect sense that she would try to rebuild that as her professional palace starts to crumble. She's also stabbed enough backs over the years to know that lawyering up is definitely in her best interest. Way to kill two birds with one stone, my queen. 

No one escaped "Live to Fight" untouched. All of this "owing" Jessica and "owing" Harvey or Mike or Lawyer Bunk or Donna, Donna's dad, Donna's hairdresser, and the janitor who cleans around Donna's desk every night, has only created a mountain of resentment on unsteady land. There are no heroes in "Live to Fight." Even Harvey and Mike's victory in getting Donna's dad off the hook was treated like an obligation rather than something to be celebrated. Suits is in a dark place right now and I just love it. 



CASE NOTES 

 I like Sassy Judge. 

– Can we talk about Mike getting all butthurt about Rachel's dad wanting her to dump him? Like, what did he expect? Lawyer Bunk basically tolerated Mike at the best of times, and now he knows Mike is such a liability that not only is Mike's career potentially over, but so is the existence of an entire firm. Please Mike, tell us more about why this parent has no right to worry that his daughter's relationship with you is toxic. 

– This week in Wardrobe That Would Never Fly in a Real Office: Donna's fabulous flared black swing dress was to die for but between the flounce and the cleavage, she'd be sent home to get a sweater before lunch. I know it's not fair. None of us asked to have these wildly offensive fun-bags glued to our chests at puberty. #FreeTheBoobies 

– LOUIS. D: 


Comments (58)
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Feb 11, 2016
I like the story line and characters, however I find the language to be offensive and demeans the characters and the program. It robs both the characters and the program of class. I hope the writers are skilled enough to write emotions without this type of language. And, yes, I can and will decide about not watching.
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Feb 08, 2016
So what is up with this prosecutor? Did her parents get shot dead by fake lawyers/fraudsters in a back alley of a theatre? I mean her and her marshall buddy are fiercely gung ho. Don't they drink whisky at some upmarket piano bar at the end of the day like other real law practicing people?
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Feb 08, 2016
I'm tired of this whole thing being dragged out. It's absurd. If Petty Prosecutor had a strong enough case (or bothered to do real investigating rather than grandstanding and pissing people off with unrelated bs) she would have had him locked away already. She doesn't though, which is why she's Gung ho on the gang turning on each other and if they actually spent a few seconds and used some common damn sense they'd know that. She can't build a fraud case in this scenario without a confession, and she's not getting that so honestly please move on from this mafiosa drama. It's dull.
- Yes. They all did a little partaking in this charade. But the amount of reaching some fans are going to not admit that the majority of the blame falls on Mike and Harvey is rather comical. Mike, Harvey, and Donna willingly agreed and went along with this. No strong arming to be had, no being bent over a barrel...they signed up for this. They're the only ones who freely signed up for this repercussions be damned. Which is why Donna going off on Harvey was ridiculous. He didn't drag her kicking and screaming into this, and if anyone could have talked him out of it,it could have been her. For all the faults of the other characters (and there are many ) I'm always astounded on how easily they're villified compared to mike and Harvey (and even Donna ) Jessica may have tried to make the situation work for her, but given the nature of that particular firm she was screwed the second harvey did this. Turning mike in would have cost her too. As a strategist she weighed the odds and tried to use it to her advantage (same with Louis ) but the fact is neither one of them would have allowed mike to even happen. They got dragged into a mess and tried to make lemonade with the lemons, but that will never make them or anyone else who knows and kept it secret worse or even just as bad as harvey and Mike. But you know...the protagonists rah rah rah team bromance.
- mike only selectively taking the blame with certain people made him even more in sufferable. There used to be a time I liked him, but he's become such a cocky,whiny, entitled little pain in the ass and I just don't anymore. I can't comprehend because it's beyond illogical, a guy who would do anything to protect harvey but throw Jessica under the bus whenever he can. Like the amount of sheer disrespect he shows her regularly has always irritated me to my core,but his lack of seeing Jessica as Harvey's harvey has me questioning his intellect. If you think harvey would ever be okay with Mike even considering turning her over than you must be high mike. Her keeping incriminating evidence as insurance is just common sense,especially since she's aware that Mikes loyalty never extends to her. But I chuckled at how pissed off he gets when someone does the same things to him as harvey and he do to others. I mean...I was so glad when Jeff Malone went off on Mike regarding the Jessica thing,because yes, she was looking out for herself but she was also protecting harvey and by extension mike too, but Mike wrote her off a long time ago because mike never bothered to actually get to know or give a damn about anyone who isn't Harvey or Donna,which has been the source of contention many of times and part of the reason they couldn't keep this ish under wraps to begin with.
- So glad Gretchen is still there. I love her. She gives me all the things I used to love about Donna before they shifted to all this angsty Darvey stuff.
- I searched high and low for a damn to give about Mike and Rachel. Still can't find one.
- I know it's gotten bad when sometimes I genuinely root for the antagonists because the protagonists are too much. Something that started happening a couple of seasons ago when our lovely protagonists really came across as bullies, or the popular kids at school who did whatever they wanted rules and decency be damned and went unchecked. Sometimes there are not enough witty one liners and banter that can make me go along with them. But honestly this prosecutor is the bloody worse so she's not even a fun antagonist. She's the just how far must I suspend belief to sit through this type.
- who sold out Mike? I would sell Mike out for a stale stick of gum and a yellow Starburst.
- I just realized that it's finally happening. I have officially crossed over to pathetically loyal, obligatory, hate watching Suits.
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Feb 19, 2016
I don't know who you are or where you've been ... But will you marry me?? This is hands down the most spot on analysis (aside from the Darvey part, I am SO Team Darvey ..... I digress) that I have ever read regarding this show and it's character development. Game over. Like, can I get a witness? Someone needs to wrap this up and hand deliver it to the show runners for real. Seriously, well done.
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jdh
Feb 09, 2016
Everything I was thinking since end of last season you have summed up perfectly here. My wife (who watches most things) gave up on the show last week and i'll probably only stick around to finish the season. The show has turned stale and has terrible self cenetred characters
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Feb 08, 2016
I am glad that this isn't getting put away so fast like it has in the past. but I hope it doesn't last long either. Rachel, ugh Rachel. Just make up your mind on what to do! My full review here:

http://www.thissideofmyscreen.com/2016/02/suits-live-to-fight-episode-review.html
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Feb 07, 2016
I am really tired of this. The entire plot was totally stupid since the beginning of the show. And instead of solving the best possible way (Mike going to Harvard) they faked a diploma and hacked the databases so Mike cannot go to Harvard or to any other university ever, because he has a title. What he doesn't have is people who remembers him. Or who has taught him. So no, that makes no sense.
And all the cases he worked with were in danger since day 1.
What I won't tolerate is Donna accusing Harvey of hiring a fraud. She was the one that helped Mike in the first place and she was with Harvey every step of the road. Donna is as guilty as Harvey as everybody, specially Donna herself and her dad, should stop treating Harvey as if he was the only one to blame.
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Feb 06, 2016
Am I the only one who seems annoyed by this, because I think the most obvious route to go is to have any one or a group of people who shaould've apparently graduated with Mike come up and say they don't recall ever sitting in a class with him, or subpoena other professors at Harvard. Because the story seems to be spreading by the day and they can't say the Harvard alumini hasn't heard of it, and that aside Gerrard no other professor has come out to say they also don't recall ever having a Mike Ross. This should've ended the episode it started, the makers are just stretching it out.
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Feb 05, 2016
Hey what did Gretchen? (Donna Classic) Louis Secretary say? When Louis asked her why she was telling him? that she got Mike discovered.

Something like I got your back? what did she mean by that?
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Feb 05, 2016
I think it was something like I know what you all were doing and I'm on your side. Yay, team! The only problem is we have so little history with her that how can we really believe this? Could she ever be legally liable?
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Feb 06, 2016
I don't think she could ever be legally liable, cuz she became the secretary after Mike had been there already for like 4 years. And I'm pretty sure she didn't know about him til all this mess happened. When she said something like "I know you knew" or "I knew what you were doing", I took that as as she didn't know at the time she made the call to Sheila, because then she never would have made the call, but once she saw the sh*t hitting the fan and saw how everyone was reacting to it, THEN she pieced together that they all knew about Mike. I think she was saying "despite the fact that I now realize you all knew about him all along, I've got your back anyway".
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Feb 05, 2016
At this point, and with the teaser suggesting more shenanigans, I am not sure I want Mike and Harvey to get out of this anymore, it's getting stretched too thin.

Louis' heavy heart from Sheila's revelations was ultimately the core of this episode for me, the high point because of how restrained that was and yet still resonated heavily. The flip side of that was Jeff hollaring at Mike that the secret cost Jessica Jeff himself, that was just a silly way to deliver that and I blame the writers, not performer or director.
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Feb 04, 2016
Have Mike be found Guilty, send him to jail, destroy Pearson-Specter-Litt, and have next season be about Harvey being a has been lawyer/shut in and a new "Mike-ish" kid show up wanting to be a lawyer and Harvey reluctantly mentoring him. Mike is finished now that Sheila is stepping forward. They're ALL finished. I don't see how they can ass-pull a happy ending like they did in, say, Season 3, where all Harvey had to do was apologize and that was the end. Mike is going Dowwwwwnnnnnn!
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Feb 07, 2016
No. I am sure Sheila will save Mike.
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Feb 04, 2016
The 'young' bangs hair should get an individual mention for outstanding appearance in an ensemble. Always makes me laugh how they spruce/lengthen the hair to say they're young, see?
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Feb 04, 2016
Just send Mike to jail, flash forward a few years where he gets out on a reduced sentence and have the show go from there for one more season.
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Feb 07, 2016
It's not so easy. If Michael is proven a fraud, besides going to bed, all the cases he worken all these years are going to be revisitied and perhaps reopen. Hundreds of people will probably suffer for that.
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Feb 04, 2016
Couldn't he be banned from practicing law forever if he's found guilty/pleads guilty? I mean, I honestly don't know. Could someone with real legal knowledge weigh in on this?
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Feb 04, 2016
It's tricky.

In most (all?) US states, a felon CAN become a lawyer if they can somehow pass some morality review -- or something.

In real life, Mike pretending to be a lawyer would likely fail that test. Though in the show's fictional universe, I GUESS they could embellish how his cases proved that he did what was "right" instead of "profitable" or whatever and thus is and was a moral person. It would likely not "fly" in reality though
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Feb 05, 2016
Yea. I know it's not uncommon for people to get degrees while incarcerated (even law degrees); however, I meant (which you later mention in your own post) he probably wouldn't be able to practice law anymore because of the specific crime he's accused of committing/he actually committed.

I swear I remember someone posting something about that subject in the comments' section of an earlier episode of an earlier season. That's what I like about this place a lot of the time: some people with real legal knowledge come here and explain/joke about how wrong the show gets things sometimes. haha
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Feb 04, 2016
I don't RECALL Mike getting butt hurt over Rachel's dad wanting her to end it.

He said something along the lines that had Rachel not been honest with him and told him about what he wanted... he would have been devastated. But they fact that she told him means she still wants to be honest with him... or something.

I honestly don't recall the scene that well -- but I didn't walk away with a "WTF is Mike surprised?" vibe
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Feb 07, 2016
I did, I don't know what he expected.
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Feb 04, 2016
I did. He seemed like he was baiting her the entire time and then she told him, he was like "Heh. Of course" :looks back down at his papers:
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Feb 04, 2016
-So, first and foremost, did the scene at the beginning of the episode finally confirm (what all of us Suits' fans have known forever) that Donna has supernatural abilities? lol

Donna's dad: "How do you know?"
Kid Donna (with a bewildered look on her face): "I just do..."

-I think it's safe to say that it's also been confirmed that Donna's dad is a bit of a dick. He should fit right in with the rest of the cast. haha

-Sheila is the informant? I don't know how I feel about that.

My problem is: Sheila says she remembers all the people who went to Harvard, yet it was only when the article writer contacted her about the Mike Ross story that she realized she didn't remember him going to Harvard.

I find that strange because she dated Louis for how long? I mean, you're telling me that he never brought up Mike during their relationship? Never talked good or bad about him? At any point she could've realized he wasn't a Harvard alumni, because PSL (or Pearson Hardman at the time) only hires Harvard graduates, yet it took someone calling about a story for her to figure out Mike's fraud.

-So Jeff was briefly brought back solely to humanize Jessica in the eyes of Mike? Okay then. At least everyone is on the same page, right now, and they're getting their shit in order.

-With Sheila coming forward, and Gerrard not willing to perjure himself, I'm starting to wonder how Mike is going to get out of this one.
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Feb 07, 2016
I believe Sheila will actually help. She will admit having written the mail because she had lost his archive. And Louis will probably say he took the archive because he was jealous of Mike, thus given some credibility of Sheila claims.
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Feb 07, 2016
That could land Louis in some hot water though. You think that's how it'll play out? I mean, I could see Louis doing that to help Sheila (and the others), but wouldn't that get him into trouble with the bar?
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Feb 07, 2016
Not if both Sheila and Louis spoke of personal notes and note official documents
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Feb 04, 2016
I thought the same: they went there. They made Donna psychic.
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Feb 04, 2016
Honestly, it was probably just her being smart and observent.

Parents talking about stuff in hushed tones, looking depressed, etc. It's remarkable for an adolescent to pick up on it all and make the connections but not special.

Or. You know. She's a psychic goddess.
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Feb 04, 2016
Or her Dad was just being strangely awkward while saying "It's all going to be oooooooooooooooookayyyyyyyyyyy. It'll be okay honey!" that made it strange and suspicious.

Also the casting for her was offensive. There's nothing wrong with that girl except that she looked NOTHING like Donna aside from they both had red hair.
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Feb 04, 2016
My belief leans more towards the latter option.
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Feb 04, 2016
LOL, and for so many reasons... I don't blame you :-)

Just saying...
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Feb 04, 2016
So Sheila's response to Louis baring his soul and begging her to retract her e-mail was to not simply decline, but to step forward and accuse Mike publicly? And all that for Harvard's honor or dignity or blah blah blah? Yeah, hell hath no fury as a woman scorned. GG
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Feb 04, 2016
Yeh, I think it was the scorn.

She probably thought Louis was innocent in all of it, and thus completely blowing things up would destroy him. But now that she knows he was aware of everything, no more innocence and thus no more feeling as bad about him getting caught in the blast radius.

Plus. He violated one of the most sacred things to her: Harvard.
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Feb 04, 2016
Unfortunately Sheila does come across is a person acting from a place of scorn and vengeance. It's hard to justify her actions as a defense of Harvard's honor - after all Mike is a brilliant attorney, not some buffoon parading around and giving Harvard Law a bad name. Or am I misreading something? Perhaps
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Feb 04, 2016
I once said to my brother that Gerard Ethics professor was their secret weapon. If he witnesses they are pretty solid. I forgot about Sheila.

Wonder how they get Mike out of this.
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Feb 04, 2016
I'm tired of the show treating everybody besides Mike and Harvey like some kind of innocent victims. Yes, Mike is a fraud and Harvey hired him but the rest of them are not any better. Donna as I remember encouraged Harvey to hire Mike and was helping him cover the whole situation from the beginning. When Jessica found out she could've sent him to jail but instead kept him in order to cover her incompetent ass. When Louis found out he chose to use the situation to help himself instead of calling the authorities. So everybody should look at themselves first instead of blaming Harvey and Mike for everything.
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Feb 04, 2016
I agree. Yeh, a lot of this is Mike's fault.

But Harvey hired him. Donna was cool with it. Jessica had a bunch of options to get rid of him (letter/note be damned). Louis benefitted from it.

They are all culpable and, as much as I like them all, kind of deserve to get nailed.
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Feb 04, 2016
That's absolutely true. However, a lot of people project their shortcomings outwards, onto others, when they are angry and know they only have themselves to blame... and there were a lot of angry PSL employees in this episode.
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Feb 04, 2016
So Louis is going to get Mike off by getting Sheila off?
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Feb 04, 2016
New Suits' fanfic incoming?
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Feb 04, 2016
It all started one hot sweaty night in the mud baths......
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Feb 04, 2016
It seems like the only shot but I doubt they are going there.
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Feb 04, 2016
oh,,,,,I think Louis WILL be going THERE and GIVING IT A SHOT!

If you get what I'm saying...


(sexual innuendos)
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Feb 04, 2016
we can only hope
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Feb 04, 2016
They made Donna Cry. Isnt that against TV law?
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Feb 04, 2016
We can only hope there are TV arrest warrants being issued right now.
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Feb 04, 2016
For every action, there is an equal and opposite malfunction! :) That seems to be this year's Suits motto.

Secretary writes an amazing article on Ross, Custodian of the Harvard Records reads the article, smells the bull fertilizer and fires back ...

How poetic.

Gotta love the irony.

Of course, how does a secretary even get the power to choose without their superior's consent "in this case, Harvey" to write such articles in the first place?

To me, talk about overstepping your boundaries, I mean, you need a sign-off, hell, you need some editorial, some approval, something..

But seriously, that plot twist, just wrong, it is utterly senseless and unrealistic.

That is the weakest excuse for the shit storm that is brewing right now.

The writers should have come up with something better.

It's a law firm. A fairly sizable one at that. There are PR staff for this and even they have to get some approval from the top to issue articles such as whatever Madame Secretary did.

This is disappointing. Love the show, but this .. idiot writing.. who the hell came up with that? Moronic. Flog the writer(s) who are responsible for this f'ing crap.

Oh well..

Let's see how it goes from here...



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Feb 04, 2016
She didn't write an article she leaked the story of Mike Ross up and coming lawyer and youngest associate for Pearson Spectre Litt
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Feb 04, 2016
Law firms of sizes like Pearson, Spector and Litt have PR people for that. It still doesn't make sense. Just like other law firms I know, when it comes to the media, you need to pass the buck to others and get consensus. It's part and parcel of your employment agreement. So, whether she wrote it or 'leaked' it, it doesn't matter, anywhere else, she would be fired on the spot, it goes against terms of contract.
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Feb 04, 2016
I thought Jessica was concerned initially because promoting Mike would automatically trigger a press release that it happened. Is that the SOP for things like this: new partner = press release (even if not read by many).

In which case, the secretary just pointed out that maybe the magazine want to take a closer look at that press release and what it means (youngest bla bla). So not so much a "leak" as "hey look over there"

Or not. I have no idea about what actually triggers a press release. And either way, it probably would be fire-able or whatever.
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Feb 19, 2016
You're on the right track. I work in PR and one of my clients is a law firm. Releases are created announcing every new partner and/or new hire, but before such a release can be distributed to the media, it must be signed off by the managing partner, the in-house marketing representative and the partner in question. Now, that being said, that process wouldn't necessarily stop a member of the firm from picking up the phone, calling a reporter and leaking a story to the reporter. No release needed to do that. Could that get the employee fired? Possibly.... If it could be proved that they in fact leaked it and the chances the reporter will give up the source are pretty much zilch. But back to the show, I took it to mean that Gretchen bypassed SOP, leaked the story directly to a reporter, for the sole purpose of surprising Harvey - no ill will intended. Very admirable of her to own up to it, even if it could potentially land her in hot water.
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Feb 04, 2016
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Feb 04, 2016
Yeh, that was my impression. She didn't WRITE the article, she just approached the publication and got the ball rolling -- since it was a printable story (youngest partner in the history of one of NY's most prestigious firms).
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