The season 2 premiere of “Suits” opened with a bang, featuring a high-intensity episode that didn’t let up until its final minutes. A new antagonist was introduced, Mike’s love life changed course, Harvey actually lost for once, and there was even a legal case happening in between all of it. Here’s a brief recap of the episode and my two cents on it.
Season two opens with Mike walking into a restaurant to meet Jessica Pearson for dinner. Judging by where the show left off last season, it’s assumed that this dinner has been set up for one thing: kicking Mike to the curb. But it is soon revealed that the dinner is actually a good thing, as it is a gesture that Jessica has extended to all of the firm’s previous senior partners. While they eat, Jessica asks Mike about Harvard and he doesn’t miss a beat. Mike also shares a story with Jessica about losing his parents in a car accident, which is what compelled him to go into law.
When Jessica next meets with Harvey, he mentions that she never told him about the dinner. She tells him that somebody came forward and made an accusation about Mike, so she checked him out. At first he seemed “squeaky clean,” but after further research Jessica found out that Mike never graduated from college. She tells Harvey that he needs to fire Mike immediately.
Harvey brings Mike into his office to fire him but he can’t bring himself to do it. After chickening out, he buys time to put off firing Mike by tricking Louis to assign Mike lots of work. Now Jessica can’t fire Mike without Louis noticing and getting wind of the whole Mike situation in general.
Jenny shows up outside the office and confronts Mike about kissing Rachel. He tries to convince her that he doesn’t want to be with Rachel, but Jenny doesn’t buy it. To top things off, she mentions that she found out from Trevor, who told her he planned on revealing Mike’s secret to Jessica Pearson. Mike returns to the firm in a dazed state and confronts Harvey about not telling Mike that Jessica found out. Harvey asks Mike to trust him, and assures him that he won’t be fired on his watch.
News comes in that Daniel Hardman’s wife just passed away. This is crucial news, because his wife being alive was the only thing keeping Hardman from returning to Pearson Hardman. Years ago, Harvey and Jessica caught Hardman doing something wrong, and as a result they decided to blackmail him into leaving the office. They blackmailed him by threatening to go public with the news that he had been cheating on his sick wife. Harvey makes a deal with Jessica that if he can keep Hardman from returning, she’ll let Mike stay. At first Harvey’s plan seems to work, but he returns to the firm to find Hardman making an announcement to the entire office about his return.
With Hardman set to return, Jessica tells Harvey that Mike will never be returning to the firm. Harvey plays his final (and biggest) chip, telling her that if Mike goes, he goes with him. When Jessica tells Harvey to pack up his stuff, he advises her not to fire him. If she fires Harvey and he leaks the story of Mike being hired on Jessica’s watch, it will essentially solidify Hardman’s quest to retake control of the firm. Jessica needs Harvey to defeat Hardman, and she knows it. So at least for now, Mike will be staying.
In between all this inter-firm drama, Mike did have a case concerning a writer suing a company for stealing her ideas. At times we see flashes of Harvey in Mike’s handling of the case, but in staying true to himself, Mike hears the writer’s case. After the writer gets greedy and goes for more money and recognition, Mike figures out a way to put a kabosh on it and settle the case.
There is so much to praise about this episode, so here are the things that made the biggest impressions:
The “Will He or Won’t He” Ping-Pong
One of best parts to this season premiere was that the answer to whether or not Mike was getting fired was constantly ping-ponging back and forth the entire episode. The writers didn’t answer the finale cliff-hanger at the beginning or leave it for the very end of the episode. It was almost as frequently as every other scene that the tide turned. Jessica doesn’t fire Mike at the dinner and even tells Harvey he checks out, right before telling him to fire him. Then Harvey tricks Louis into helping his cause and delaying Mike’s demise. Then Harvey strikes the deal with Jessica at the Hardman funeral. Back and forth we go, all the way to the very end of the episode, and even still we don’t know how long the ceasefire will last until Jessica decides it’s time for Mike to go again. The up-and-down roller coaster ride was exciting to watch and had me glued to the screen from start to finish.
The Donna / Harvey Relationship
The chemistry between Donna and Harvey has always been one of the strongest bonds between two characters on the show, and “She Knows” only made that clearer. We see it in the scene in which Donna immediately knows something is wrong when Harvey asks her to “do him a favor” and says “please” and “thank you”. When she follows him into his office, she picks up on the most minute details and figures out what is wrong without the slightest confirmation from Harvey. Besides being funny, this moment demonstrated how close Harvey and Donna are and how much Harvey really needs her.
Daniel Hardman: The Gentle Giant
David Costabile, who hilariously played Doug on “Flight of the Conchords,” turns out to be excellent on “Suits” as well. It’s fascinating how Harvey and Jessica paint him as this sneaky, dirty, snake of a man, and then he seems so calm, subdued, and even likable. Plus, it’s so enjoyable that somebody who is basically the polar-opposite of Harvey Specter (both in appearance and temperment) has not only the wits to match him, but even to beat him. Leading me into the next point…
It’s understandable that in the first season of “Suits,” Harvey had to win so many cases so that we could understand just how powerful and successful a lawyer he is. In order for Harvey to be perceived as a living legend, the audience had to see why people considered him to be one. But as the season came to a close, it got predictable and a bit tiring to always see Harvey win. Even against the greatest odds, Harvey always figured out a way to save his cases by the end of the episode. But in the season 2 premiere, Harvey is actually bested by his nemesis! Thinking he has the best of Hardman, he confidently calls Jessica and assures her that Hardman will not be returning to the firm. But moments later, he comes back to Pearson Hardman to find Daniel thwarting his plans and announcing his comeback. Here’s hoping that this isn’t the last we see of Harvey being outwitted by an opponent.
Harvey Plays His Last Card to Save Mike
It was perfect how saving Mike from Jessica finally came down to Harvey having to take the ultimate risk of sacrificing himself. Throughout season one, the writers made it a point, here and there, to show how fond Harvey was of Mike. But here, in one of the final scenes of “She Knows,” Harvey shows the ultimate sign of loyalty and compassion by threatening to leave Pearson Hardman if Jessica fires Mike. This scene was such an effective way to show just how much Harvey cares about Mike and that, under all that thick shell of his, Harvey can be an emotional and caring person when he wants to be.
Here were a few more enjoyable moments from “She Knows” :
-Mike’s comments about “Goodfellas” and shouting “Karen! Where’s the money, Karen?!” at Harvey as he walks away.
-The Donna / Rachel friendship and their scene together in the ladies room.
-The cameo by “Suits” creator and show-runner Aaron Korsh. Can you spot him?
-This exchange between Harvey and Louis:
Harvey: “What’re you killing seals?”
Louis: “Would that I were. Rodents of the sea…”
-Harvey’s “Highlander” reference at the Hardman funeral. And when Jessica questions it, him saying, “Yeah, a lot of people die in it. Seems appropriate.”
-Hardman’s quote that so nicely applies to Mike: “If we are busy hiding what we have done, it leaves us vulnerable to anyone who discovers it.”
That’s all for this episode of “Suits.” If you’ve got anything else to add, feel free to leave it in the comments section! And don’t forget to check back soon for a feature on “Suits” star Gabriel Macht (Harvey Specter) as well as another recap / review of next week’s episode.