Suits' Mid-season Premiere: That Time Mike Ross Got His Sh*t Together

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Suits S02E11: “Blind-Sided”

One week after Daniel Hardman was chased away with pitchforks or, you know, staplers, Mike was out of pizza and almost out of pot (OH NOES), Harvey was making dates with Zoe behind Donna’s back (kind-of-but-not-really), and everyone hated Louis except for Lady Louis, though her affections were clearly shallow and yucky. Coconut oil is so greasy!

Sometimes, the Suits case-of-the-week has little bearing on the plot of an episode outside of being an excuse to make the Pearson-Hardman gang show up at the office. That wasn't the case in “Blind-Sided” when Mike, still reeling from his grandmother’s death at the end of “High Noon,” insisted on being included in a case that hit a little too close to home. The son of a client was involved in a hit-and-run accident, claimed that he wasn't drunk, and even called 911 for the poor schmuck he clipped as he sped away. Unfortunately, super-tagger Al Chung died anyway, but poor little rich boy Liam felt really bad about it, like, REALLY bad about it. He avoided jail time due to his cooperation and the fact that the dude he hit ran into the street as he tried to distance himself from his OWN crime. Mike negotiated a settlement with Chung’s family that actually had them coming out on top, in contrast to what sounded like a pretty crappy deal received by his grandmother and himself in the wake of his parents’ death. Yay for coming full circle! Maybe this is the motivation Mikey needs to “get his shit together”—a running theme in this episode, but generally, a running theme for the series as a whole too.

Everything was coming up Mike Ross until Liam confided in his shiny new lawyer-buddy that he was totally high when he hit Al Chung because “high” and “drunk” are two totally different questions, man. Totally. You could smear Mike’s self-righteous indignation on a bagel and call it lunch, it was so thick—a little too thick, actually. I mean, we get it Mike, PRINCIPLES and stuff, right? But Mike’s battle of who had the better morals was doomed from the start by the simple matter of Mike not being nearly as perfect as he was putting on. He was banging a married woman while wooing his co-worker. His entire career is built on a lie, one that, were it ever made public, would compromise the livelihood of every single person at Pearson-Hardman. He expects Harvey, Jessica, and the others to protect him, but balks at the idea of extending that protection to anyone else, least of all a fellow young adult who made a really bad decision, felt terrible about it, and understood that he would have to live with what he did. Granted, there’s a big difference between faking your way to a career in law and accidentally turning your car into a harbinger of death, but Suits worked hard to turn Liam’s experience into the most unfortunate accident it possibly could—with the exception of his drug usage—and turn Liam himself into the most sympathetic lucky bastard it could manage. Your mileage most certainly may vary regarding the success of this approach. If you thought he was a scumbag, I understand why; I just don’t think we were necessarily meant to, is all. Liam’s confession to Mike diminished what was otherwise an admirable outcome to a tragic event, but even Liam himself realized that. Right now, I think even Liam isn’t a big Liam fan.

And yet, despite Mike’s efforts to sabotage his client, his mentor, and even the firm as a whole in the name of proving once and for all that he is the most moral of the bunch, Mike was AGAIN protected by the influence of Harvey and Jessica’s reach. WHO’S A LUCKY BASTARD NOW, MIKE ROSS?

Everyone may currently hate Louis but the fact is, regardless of the circumstances of his promotion, Mr. Litt was made a senior partner and with that title comes certain perks—and a certain sexual appeal, according to Lady Louis. Among those perks is the right to hire one’s very own associate and while in search of a Mike to call his own, Louis found Maria the Machine. However, Maria was the secretary of her class at Harvard and claimed to know the name of EVERYONE—and nowhere in that population of EVERYONE had she ever heard of a Mike Ross. Ruh-roh. It’s time for our obligatory “Mike isn’t a real lawyer” reminder. Thanks, Suits!

It didn’t even take that much convincing to get Jessica to tackle Louis in mid-play by claiming that a hiring freeze meant he couldn’t hire Maria the Machine after all. Poor Louis. Not only did he not get his shiny new associate, but Lady Louis—armed with the knowledge that Harvey immediately turned around and hired five-year associate Katrina in return for her willingness to cockblock Mike’s raging boner of righteousness—insinuated that she no longer found Louis as sexy as she once did. Sorry, bro. But you know what? It was probably only a matter of time before someone lost the key to the kinky cuffs and do you really want a rumor like that getting around the office? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Think of the damage Donna could do with that kind of knowledge. Or Harvey.

No, Donna—definitely be more scared of Donna. Definitely.

Speaking of Donna, in my recent interview with Sarah Rafferty, the actress said that the last six episodes of Suits’ sophomore season will get us more involved with the personal lives of Pearson-Hardman’s workforce and, for better or for worse, that shift in focus was apparent in this mid-season premiere. I give Mike a hard time, but I also see his point. I may or may not have once incredulously asked an ex-boss how he lived with himself (I was 16 and I really hated working drive-thru, okay?), and there’s certainly something stomach-turning about the realization that one may just work in and for a system that one doesn’t find particularly admirable. Part of growing up is coming to terms with that—you can suck it up and play the game, you can leave, and if you’re feeling particularly heroic you can destroy it... or at least you can try to. When his grandmother was alive, Mike had every reason to suck it up, bite his tongue, and do things the Harvey way for the sake of paying for Granny’s healthcare. Without that responsibility influencing his every decision, Mike is adrift and he doesn’t necessarily have to shut up and do what’s asked of him if he doesn’t want to. However, to be fair to Harvey, he DID tell Mike to sit this one out. So. Sorry, Mike. :(

It’s cool, though. Mike Ross, Harvey Specter, and the colorful characters that fill their lives all have room to grow in their own respective rights and that’s a good thing. When your characters can’t grow anymore, you run out of stories to tell, and that’s a sad day, one that I like to think is far off in the future for Suits.

Mike, in particular, has room to grow both personally and professionally, and with that growth comes the required spurts and pains. I had the thought, while watching Mike rail against the foundation that Harvey laid for Liam’s case and the similar work of other lawyers before him, that maybe Mike simply isn’t cut out to be a lawyer. It’s a job that demands an understanding of the gray area in every situation and in “Blind-Sided,” Mike simply wasn’t capable of accepting it.

But Mike HAS accepted it in the past and he continues to operate within it, whether he likes it or not, as so many of his peers do. The gray area has no set designation as right or wrong, and it’s whatever those who use it choose to call it. Rachel, sick of being Mike’s romantic ideal up on a pedestal, relayed her experience with a questionable relationship in order to smudge that pristine image of her. I’m sure Jessica would argue that her lie to Louis about the hiring freeze was required for the good of the firm, given what a blow to their credibility and reputation that the news of Mike’s non-existent degree would be, but it was still a dick move. Likewise, Harvey and the others were quick to condemn Louis for the path he took to his promotion, while simultaneously seeking their own upward mobility (Katrina) in exchange for questionable acts of loyalty (toward Harvey, in her specific case.)

There are rules in the workplace—courtroom procedures, privileges, “right” and “wrong” ways to do something—but outside of the office, it’s a different game altogether. You can make up the rules as you go and change them as often as you like because the whole freaking board is a gray area. It’s deep and unpredictable and most of all, it’s fun, like Harvey freaking Specter bringing flowers to Zoe’s young niece. Are you TRYING to kill me with cute, Suits?


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CASE NOTES


– Donna Paulsen Sass Alert: Pretty much everything involving Harvey calling Zoe after Donna left for the day and Donna calling him out on it while lounging behind his desk like the HBIC that she is.

– Fifty Shades of Louis: “Safewords are for pussies.” You know, the fact that Louis didn’t get all freaked out and scared away by his adventures with Lady Louis says quite a lot about him.

– “Your emotions get the better of you on a MERGER.” Preach it, Harvey!

– That Time Mike Got His Shit Together: The confrontation with the lawyer that screwed over Sassy Grandma (R.I.P.), while possibly the questionable act of a man in the midst of a nervous breakdown, was also a possible indication of the kind of big-boy lawyer Mike will be someday. By the end of “Blind-Sided,” he attained a more mature insight into the less-pleasant aspects of the job, and seemed to accept that while they couldn’t always be avoided, they could be controlled. He gave the Chung family what dignity he could. He confronted the lawyer who couldn’t remember his own parents’ names, horrified that something that so fundamentally changed his life was just another day at the office for that dude. Mike won’t be forgetting Al Chung’s name, and not just because he has a crazy awesome memory.

– That Time Mike Got His Shit Together, Part 2: BYE TESS. Miss you neverrr.

– Poll time!

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