Suits: The First Annual Pearson-Hardman Popularity Contest

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Suits S02E02: “The Choice”

Well, Mike and Rachel broke up. Again. It was a quick turnaround this time, wasn’t it?

And I still don’t care. I didn’t care last season and I don’t care this season. Maybe if Rachel developed a personality that involved more than being happy when she and Mike are together and being grumpy when they aren’t, I could muster up some feelings other than annoyance, but at the moment, I’d rather just go back to Harvey being Harvey and the women on this show who aren’t love interests being awesome.

Daniel Hardman was an invisible force in the Pearson-Hardman offices, renovating some prime office space without Jessica’s approval, swiping her tea set, and sucking up to the underlings with an omelet bar, box seats at a Bruce Springsteen concert, and, in Louis’s case, the perfect gift accompanied by the perfect ego-stoking note.

Jessica picked up on his motives immediately and tasked Harvey with recruiting other departments to join their anti-Hardman cause. Unfortunately, as Donna pointed out, pretty much everyone hates Harvey. I think I would have found someone else to be my right-hand at that point, but Jessica forged ahead and told Harvey to court Paul Porter, head of the bankruptcy department. The problem with making Harvey the head of your campaign for Most Popular Partner is that Harvey himself does not appear to care about popularity. He’s certainly smart enough to realize what Jessica is trying to do—cultivate a stronger following than Daniel Hardman so that when Hardman's coup finally comes, she’ll have enough clout in the office to weather whatever attacks he orchestrates. But ultimately, Harvey Specter sees himself as a moral, generally upstanding guy. He has principles. He wants the best for his clients and he wants them to be happy. He doesn’t particularly care if his co-workers like him and I don’t think he fully understood, at least not at first, that he and Jessica are largely seen as a single unit by the Pearson-Hardman workforce. To cast a vote in Jessica’s favor is to also cast one in Harvey’s favor and therefore, the dislike that so many departments have for Harvey touches Jessica by extension.

Basically, Harvey blew it with Paul Porter.

Harvey blew it, but Harvey also did the right thing. Porter wanted him to get a client to file bankruptcy and implied that he would back Jessica in a Pearson-Hardman showdown if Harvey did it successfully. Instead, Harvey and Mike managed to uncover a bank conspiracy that directly led to the client’s financial ruin and indirectly led to the potential ruin of six other real estate developers. When Harvey and Mike confronted the bank with their findings, the bank reluctantly agreed to renegotiate the loan terms with Porter’s client and everyone won. Awesome, right?

In theory, it was awesome, but Porter was insulted by Harvey’s takeover of the case. He didn’t care that Harvey had gotten the better deal for his client, he cared that Harvey had undermined Porter’s own authority to get it. Office politics: They really bring out the worst in people. Porter jumped on the Daniel Hardman bandwagon, along with what looked like half the office, including Louis Litt.

I figured Louis would jump ship. He’s a slimeball, sure, but his rationale for joining Team Hardman made a great deal of sense. He really is often disrespected and devalued by his peers and from time to time, I’ve debated whether or not it’s warranted. Certainly, Litt is a capable lawyer; otherwise he’d have been cast out a long time ago. In some ways, Harvey and Louis have more in common than they’d probably care to embrace, like two sides of the same coin. They’re both pretty terrible at the office politics game, but Harvey has buckets of charm, wit, and dashing good looks to hide behind. Louis can often be persuaded to do the right thing when pushed and he’s come through for the team more than once. He’s power hungry, as demonstrated by his interactions with the associates, but so far, I don’t believe that we’ve ever really seen him be particularly tyrannical. He’s a hardass, but so is Harvey. Harvey is just more suave about it.

That’s not to say that there is anything particularly heroic about Louis Litt, but I do think that he has been abused from time to time by his co-workers. He knows that he isn’t well-liked, but much like Harvey, he doesn’t particularly care about being the most popular guy in the office. He wants to be respected and valued and eventually, he wants to be in charge. The scene where he considered leaving for another firm cemented my belief that he’s a good lawyer, thanks to his colleague’s flattering words and the fact that he so quickly shelved the plan after receiving Hardman’s gift. Litt’s wounded pride has been festering since Suits' pilot, when Jessica passed him up for promotion and made Harvey a partner instead. Even after that disappointment, he continued to fall all over himself to make Jessica happy, to land in her good graces, to earn the respect and favor that she so often extends to Harvey. But Jessica never seemed capable of dividing her favor between the two men. By the time she went to Louis, which happened only because she saw Harvey’s inability to play nice with Paul Porter for the hamartia that it was, it was too little too late.

Now, none of this changes the fact that Louis IS a creep and every time he tries to get information out of Donna I laugh until it hurts. Her quest to get the Edward Albee tickets from him this week was pretty amazing. Also amazing (and sorely needed) was her reprimand of Mike. Before dumping Rachel for good (yeah right) Mike decided to tell her about his big secret. He went to Harvey for guidance because...I don’t know. I don’t know what would have made him think Harvey would support his decision. Harvey threatened to fire him if he told Rachel. Mike sulked, and Donna called him on it, and pointed out that Harvey put his career and the very foundation of the law firm on the line to protect Mike—which you’d think that Mike would have figured out by now, but I guess he CAN be a little dense sometimes. Mike claimed that he would never be able to date Rachel as long as he felt like he was lying to her and that he would never be able to work with Rachel if he broke up with her. Donna assured him that they WOULD be able to work together, that it would take time and it would suck for a while, but eventually the feelings just “go away.”

Show of hands, who thinks she was talking about Harvey? Yeah, me too. I think we got quite a bit of insight into Harvey’s usually low-key love life and the small reveals were appropriately, well, low-key. Despite Donna talking him down off the ledge, Mike was still understandably upset about breaking up with Rachel and still gave Harvey an earful of angst when Harvey assured him that he's young, that the right woman is still out there. Mike countered that Harvey had been telling himself that platitude for years and would probably keep telling himself that until he was an old man. Way to not be a dick, Mike.

After the words with Mike, Harvey sheepishly returned to Jessica’s office. He had retrieved her stolen tea set as a sort of apology, which she sort of accepted. I always thought that between the Harvey/Donna coupling and the Harvey/Jessica one, Jessica seemed to be the more likely candidate for Harvey Specter’s Great Lost Love and it was telling that he went back to her after arguing with Mike about finding the right woman. Of course, all of this pondering is based on vague and flimsy implications since we never got a name from Donna and certainly, Harvey’s timely return to Jessica could have been coincidence (except that would be disappointing). Frankly, at this point, I’m entertaining the idea that there’s a history with both women and I don’t know that I want a definitive answer. Mike’s love life already takes up more screen time than necessary. I think I’d rather we just kept to the moral dilemmas, hilariously slimy office politics, and awesome women... not including Rachel, who is totally boring.

Case Notes:

– I loved Jessica giving Mike the cold shoulder in the elevator and I love that he corrected himself when he called her “Jessica” instead of “Miss Pearson.” Remember, Mike, being complicit in a potentially career-ending conspiracy does not make you guys best friends.

– “Wow, I smell pheromones in here.” Don’t ever stop being creepy, Louis.

– Okay, so I feel like the case itself was pretty irrelevant to the overall plot of this episode, but did anyone else think that the bank foreclosing on Porter’s client PURELY to get a new HQ building seemed a little humorously super-villianesque? I mean, I hate The Man as much as anyone and I treat Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone articles like divine scripture, but really?

– I‘m loving season 2 so far. How about you?

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