Guys, remember when Mike had a sassy grandma who needed round-the-clock care and the whole reason he was so desperate to work at this law firm full o' children was that he wanted so badly to keep her from ending up in the crooked home where the food sucked and the floor probably hadn't been swept since the '80s? I missed that Mike this week, and he wasn't even the most irritating part of an episode that now hold the distinction of being the best episode of the season so far (in my humble opinion) while also being chock-full of misguided WTF-ery, or what I like to call "rich people problems."
Ava Hessington was revealed to be conveniently innocent, so that darker side of Harvey and all of its potential has gone the way of the dodo bird—except for how he was going to defend her even before she turned on the waterworks because, yes, it's his job, but mostly because he needs Darby on his side so he can throw Jessica out of the clubhouse because she bruised his ego and deserves to die.
Let's contrast Ava and Jessica for a moment:
Both women are cold, calculating businesswomen at the top of their respective companies. Jessica founded Pearson-BlahBlah. Ava or Ava's family founded Hessington Oil. It's been repeatedly stated that Ava "IS" Hessington Oil, but you can also make the argument that Jessica "IS" Pearson-Hardman/Pearson-Darby. Both women made questionable judgement calls to garner rewards for their firms—Jessica merged with Darby to keep the lights on after the Hardman debacle and Ava made a deal with a literal devil to get a big ol' pipeline put in. The ultimate repercussions of their actions are this: Pearson-Darby is an international law firm now and everyone is generally happy with the arrangement except for Harvey (and everyone Harvey stirs up whenever he insists on kicking the office bees nest out of spite). Hessington Oil commenced building its pipeline and a bunch of protesters were murdered by the guy Ava handed millions of dollars in bribe money to. Wait, we're apparently not calling it that anymore. It wasn't a bribe! It was goodwill cash meant to relocate all the little people who had the gall to live in the pipeline's proposed path! Totally different! It's like Hitler, man! He didn't want to kill six million Jews. He just wanted to make Germany suck less and things got a little crazy. Intentions are EVERYTHING. (And just to cut down on the hate mail, let me be clear that that was ALLLLLLLLL sarcasm. Hitler was a D-bag, no matter how you slice it.)
Which is why I guess we're supposed to be sad for Ava and rally behind Ava while gleefully waiting for Jessica to get what she deserves? Right? I mean, even Louis has joined the Poor Ava bandwagon: "At least I won't be responsible for taking away an innocent woman's company!"
Except... she's not all that innocent? Okay, she didn't order the murders, as had been initially implied. But Hitler didn't personally gas everyone who ended up at Auschwitz, and those deaths are still on him. Here's a mellower TV example that you should skip if you haven't watched all of The Sopranos: Adriana la Cerva. Syl pulled the trigger, but who set her up? Who ordered her new mattress alongside the fishes? Some fans cite Adriana's death as the point where Tony Soprano became "irredeemable"—and he didn't even technically kill her.
I can't stomach Ava suddenly becoming the poor, sad victim in all of this just because she started weeping and tossed out an "I didn't meeeean to!" Also, innocence aside, from the ruthless business perspective, she's still getting oodles of bad press for her company, and her continued presence put them in a precarious place. What was the board supposed to do?
I desperately need this storyline to end so that I can stop hating everyone.
Like I said above, though, even with all its WTF-ery, "Conflict of Interest" wasn't a flop by any means. After the early turmoil of the season, the buddy-buddy feel to many of our formerly fractured partnerships is a welcome distraction from the heavier Harvey vs. Jessica mess. Katrina and Louis are a fun team and—I can't believe I'm saying this—I even kind of liked Katrina in this episode. The fact that she acted like an adult and took her job seriously despite being stuck working with Mike... and then enabled both of them to flourish in the partnership... did a lot to redeem her. I don't know if having Louis as a mentor has given her sliminess a focus that it was initially lacking, or maybe the writers made a conscious effort to try to paint her as someone who isn't awful, but whatever it was, it worked.
Also: Donna and Steve! They're fun. I can't see it going past being a fun fling, but Suits has seemed to establish that it's only meant to be a fun fling, which is great, because as soon as those two started flirting last week, I feared the inevitable Broken-Hearted Donna episode and I just don't have it in me. I just don't.
While Harvey is still very much acting like a child in his vendetta against Jessica, "Conflict of Interest" made the attempt to at least point out that Harvey is surrounded by rich, powerful, and brainy children—so he's in good company and he no longer appears to be some freakish outlier in his office. Even Jessica, who I'm still firmly rooting for, seemed to be acting more on id power than logic and common sense. I hate to side with Darby, but was flying to Toronto just to sass him on the street really necessary? (At least Darby could make the argument that he was checking up on the East Coast branch of his firm when he pulled the same stunt on Jessica... even though we knew that wasn't the case at all.)
Basically, everyone's a jerk, so pick your favorite jerk and hold those house banners high!
– LOVED all the Wire and Sopranos references. "Shiiiiiiiiit."
– "If you were less attractive, I'd love you." -- Louis <3
– Why is it Harvey's business who Donna bangs? I get her wanting to share on a friend-to-friend basis, but the woman looked terrified about the prospect of telling Harvey about Stephen.
-- WTF Mike/Rachel Moment of the Week: Irrationally jealous romantic partners are sweet. I'm thinking none of the writers have actually had irrationally jealous romantic partners.
-- So which house are pledging your allegiance to?
AIRED ON 8/20/2014
Season 4 : Episode 10