Suits 511 Mid-Season Premiere

Season Reopener.

The episode was packed with information. The directors really do a great job with a complex form of storytelling. With so many things going on at once, not only did they make a creative solution out of Mike’s situation (by him having the proverbial gun) but also arranging so many characters and friendly faces appearing on the episode back from the long hiatus of the show. And it was fascinating to see so many different opinions at play, so many different viewpoints, interests, and arguments flying back and forth with no right and wrong but serving everyone’s interests in one way or another.

Jack Solof’s interest came from a point where he is a decent guy in a bad position. He even says to Mike, when Mike threatens to turn him in if he would turn on Harvey coming back to the office after resignation, “I didn’t do anything to you, and I am going to stay in the office or something.” What was so important was that the audience was reminded of the fact that he really was a decent guy in his own shoes. Being blindsided by Lewis that incited brewing tension to the main characters like Jessica, Harvey, and Lewis; coming hat in hand when Jessica responded with a threat to his position instead of being driven by his ego and dragging out a dirty fist fight (figuratively) showing a certain level of decency; trying to make up with Harvey by backing him when Lewis came up with a dirty, duplicituous plan to suspend him and humiliate him in front of partners; and finally having no choice but to play the bad guy in the show again that really re-ignited the issue with Forestman and Mike by being blackmailed by Daniel Hardman. Ultimately, it shows that he is a guy who is nothing but right in his own position that the viewers could probably relate to and cannot condemn if the show was to be played out with more focus to his narrative.

Jessica, a strong woman and the only black female to make it into success so far in her career ladder, is sometimes rather cruel, harsh, and driven with power — though she maintains a certain level of fairness and balance. It could be explained in much greater detail if I think about it and be retrospective, but for the position of the character and the nature of the character, her personal intentions and desires are always spoken and communicated in a rational, calculated manner. Not much shows from within unless she chooses to show it and in a manner that she chooses to communicate herself. Therefore, the character is still much hidden per se. In other words, the viewers never get to know the full story of Jessica, as she is always in control of herself and controls how she is being communicated and frames herself accordingly: the audience never get to see her pure intentions seeping out without any verbal or behavioral filters (though there is a moment in S5E10 when she almost loses her position, but even there, she is alone, and a moment only the viewers are allowed the full access to, not other characters in the story), and she has never hitherto been caught showing feelings, being completely vulnerable, being completely honest, or being completely open with another person. Therefore, she continues to play the mediator, or the controller of the situation. Maybe even a manipulator one could possibly say.

Daniel Hardman, he continues to be a dick and a self-righteous one too. But his collectedness, calm, and infamous intergrity and intelligence has time and time again proven almost irresistable to shake up. He has played a vital role in the middle part of the first half of Season 5; he is rather taking a peripheral role at the moment as the first half of Season 5 ended and the second half is just beginning. Similarly with Forestman, he has played a vital role suddenly coming into the picture but not without an impact that has to be reckoned with towards the end of the first half of Season 5, and has been silent, so far, in the mid-season premier of episode 11. It is debatable if the character itself will show up again in the screen with succeeding episodes, but his impact still remains in the dynamics of the story that unfolds and will continue to be unraveled in the following episodes of Suits. Nonetheless, he is a cold-hearted, callous asshole who is driven by very few things in life — vengeance, power, greed, and revenge. He is callous, not crass, and that’s what makes him very dangerous of a character in the series hiding in the bushes and unafraid to strike with the intent to kill.

Mike, he is a very good guy and the leading-in scenes with Mike, the opposing female attorney, and Robert Zane (Mike’s soon to be father in law) were so intense, and almost too much to digest at once. There were so many different dynamics going on at once. Robert Zane just hearing about the biggest kept secret in the show of Suits (Mike’s secret) is suddenly transitioned from the conversations that revolved outside Mike’s secret circle into one that facilitates within. Considering he is the father figure of Michael with Rachel by in-law, who shows love and approval of Mike; but, concurrently, he is an antagonizing figure of Mike and his firm by being in direct competition with them and fundamentally as a shark none other to Jessica that will not shy away from opposing anyone to make the best business call/do what is right for his firm and family’s self-interests; and he also has a relationship with Mike and Rachel whose interests diverge being the father of one of them — Rachel’s. Robert Zane comes from a complex position regarding this issue that is circling the biggest kept secret in the series and that is from a point of having a father like son relationship with Mike Ross whom he respects, a relationship with his daughter whom he loves and wants to protect by distancing her from Mike and his serious, situational danger that he is put in, and being fundamentally a character that is a shark at its core who won’t sacrifice or make emotional decisions as a leader of his own firm that is in direct conflict of interest with Mike’s firm by the nature of the competition.

And the episode basically inaugurates with a conversation between this man and Mike Ross. So much things to consider while seeing this man, Robert Zane, come into picture with his complex situation as father, father-in-law, and a fierce competitor, and so much to consider him now knowing Mike’s biggest secret and how he responds to it. There were so much to study from Robert Zane’s behaviour, response, and reaction to Mike’s every statement and move that had the potential to reveal much more about his character — or solidify what we already perceive of him. He responded in a much respectful manner with response and reactions you would very much expect. Nothing was caught by surprise, but it was just that the situation was confounding and meant to catch the audience by surprise that Robert Zane all of a sudden knew about Mike’s secret. Ultimately, what could be observed was that, the necessary conversation that they needed to have and the audience needed to see had been had — Robert addressing and questioning Mike man to man, not as an attorney, or a competitor. He addressed the questions that he most needed to know and the audience needed to know — in a way, this is also different from Jessica, who in the same situation might not have addressed her personal issues, but may have acted cool and kept it as more professional or at least frame it that way. Now, in the same situation, Jessica could likely have acted the exact same way and asked the questions “I’m asking you man to man” like Robert Zane, but I’m just drawing a characteristic difference between the two that Robert was allowed to be cracked because it had involved an issue with his daughter and Jessica hadn’t had the chance to be broken in that way and is rather perceived as more professional, hidden, and filtered in her interactions so far — though by an inch as these two characters are both the opposite sides of the same coin, one is male the other is female. So going back to my point, Robert Zane’s interaction with Mike could have been prolonged for a lot longer, but the director kept it to a necessary minimum to fit the complex plot and narrative across all characters in this new dynamic clear, concise, and to give it justice to be conveyed across this episode. While I’m sure this conversation will continue on, and Mike may make up with Robert Zane later with a heated argument or a very serious personal conversation, for the time being what needed to be addressed was addressed and Robert Zane acted just as someone in his position and character would: he is condemning Mike for his actions and for his character from a point of resentment. He is resenting Mike for being a fraud, as a relatively dignified person he is, he is resenting Mike for being with his daughter and putting her in a dangerous situation alongside him, as a father figure who rarely shows but possesses the biggest heart for his daughter, and he is resenting Mike for comprehensive reasons surrounding the situation, his lack of knowledge in this matter, and that this was hidden from him for the longest time. He set foot in with Mike for the sole reason Rachel asking him, and after listening to Mike’s explanations, he walks out dismissing him as client on the way. And the conversation he had with Mike wasn’t a professional one but that of a personal one, and the audience got to see a personal conversation of Robert Zane. When Mike responded with a question to Robert Zane’s question of if it’s true that he’s a fraud by asking, “that’s not a question a lawyer asks,” which he answered so well, Robert Zane responds by proclaiming his position in this matter that, “I’m asking you man to man” expressing that he’s not here for the interest of his daughter, or as an attorney, he’s here as a man with his best interest to protect his daughter. So far, that is where Robert Zane is left at, as well as the conversation between him and Mike. And this is an unclosed loop that will likely be resolved in future episodes with conversations with Mike and Robert Zane.

Mike, he responded very well in this episode and again showcased his intelligence and quick wit, first with the scene at the very beginning where he checks out the photos along the prison hall (which I noticed was going to play a key part later in the episode — director putting it there and showing the scene from Mike’s first person viewpoint — and it did with the undercover Agent/Police Marshall), how he responded with the “confession” and turned it around on the opposing attorney, which later helped him and Harvey, and how he came up with the brilliant idea that it was in fact him who held the gun in his hand by having the power to point fingers at who allegedly colluded with him if need be he had to drag someone along with him, which he uses to strong-arm Jack Solof in bringing Harvey back to the firm when questions arise whether or not Harvey and Mike’s simultaneous resignation from the firm was incurred by Jessica having found out about those two. But on top of this impressive quick wit Mike continues to show throughout the series, while really paying attention to the show today, I noticed that there is a cap to him and that he is not perfect. He is not so self-aware and introspective and now knowing that in a regular basis, he channels some of his problems onto Rachel. E.g., when the Agent comes back to speak to Mike and tells him “if you go to jail, girls like Rachel don’t stick around, doesn’t matter what they say”. He then goes to address this issue with Rachel and opens up the conversation not in a positive way that the agent said this to him, but in a very unhealthy manner accusing Rachel and projecting his insecurities onto Rachel while discussing a similar situation that encircles Harvey at the moment. And first of all, it requires wisdom to draw the difference between accusing without a dagger in your hand to get a genuine answer/reaction out of the other person and a misguided accusation led by anger and insecurities where the accuser has not fully registered his own insecurities and is not aware they are rather using the accusation as a form of outlet for their insecurities in a way that lashes out and lacerates the other person — Mike did the latter and hence he was not so perfect as seen he does very rarely but few times that can be counted, which is not anything new to the character though. (For example, when him and Rachel would get into a lot of fights, his incomplete emotional maturity and as a guy that from the very beginning of the show is a person getting back up on their feet and getting their life together, as someone who is imperfect, makes sense, channels his own emotions and problems onto the other person. Another example was shown with the priest, where he lashes out at the priest first to later acknowledge that he is really just afriad. And lastly, sometimes with Harvey, in the very beginning of the series at least, when he was about to quit after his first day or so, and projected his problems onto Harvey and Harvey called him out on his bullshit that it wasn’t anything but Mike’s own problems of facing his insecurities that he might not be smart enough as he’d like to think or something. *Also when he breaks down in front of his grandmother’s bookcase she donated to the church and is really faced with emotions that he’s been trying to avoid all this time, showing that he had not fully come to terms with his past) But that’s something that I noticed today, that imperfection of Mike’s, which is not a flaw, but an intended characteristic of the character. It’s funny, because the writers gave him this insurmountable intelligence and photographic memory, and yet, the writers also made sure that he is not perfect. That he comes from a broken past, has gone through hard or challenging times in life, and that he’s concurrently a relatively normal guy trying to get his life together, who is vulnerable, who is imperfect, and who has fears, insecurities, and doubts, and is not the mastermind guru of emotions and wisdom that he still has room for improvement in self-awareness despite his unparalleled social skills, conversational skills, and people skills. That’s what I can say in relation to the bigger picture not going into too much details of what he did in the episode, but it is a clear depiction from which his actions and proclivities transpire from — I would say.

Having mentioned that, though Mike is probably the character that I can at the most relate with, and Harvey, I looked to others to relate to and learn from seeing that Mike is imperfect in his own ways. Harvey, for one, seems too unrealistic, but a good bar to set for myself. He is unrealistic in a sense that every human being who would be as close to Mike as he were in his shoes, and is put with so much pressure from the situational context, and who had just been through so much fighting off Forestman, Jack Solof, and Daniel Hardman while dealing with Jessica, Mike, and his own problems cannot be in such a perfect mindset to just focus on that Mike problem just there and then. Without a hint of distraction, or even a thought that all those things just happened. This is simply impossible in real life. A person cannot go through all of that in 3 consecutive days — in story time — and not be carrying with them what happened to them a day or two ago, it is only a story that Harvey is possible, and hence, it is something worth aspiring to, being constantly bombarded with stress, dynamic circumstances, and things to do that I need to work on mindfully, actively and creatively at the same time, it is important to stay in the moment, manage stress level, and just focus on the next task at hand. Harvey did that, when Rachel was freaking out (which was the normal human reaction), Harvey though he doesn’t need to show it, as a human being you would be affected to some degree with Mike being arrested — after all, all those times working together, that was the thing that chilled them to the bones and shook them, and what they tried their best and going beyond to preclude from happening. All of a sudden all of that happened and in the worst way possible — Mike is arrested. As a mentor, as a friend, as a family, and as a person who is like a brother to Mike, you would be effected, thrown off to some degree mentally, it does take a toll on your mind albeit subtlely if you care, which Harvey inevitably does. Yet, when he was in that room with Mike, he showed no sign of that — which is inhumane and only possible within a narrative of a fictional story. And I’m not saying that Gabriel Macht could have done a better job, he did an excellent job, on par with every other actor in Suits for they have an amazing cast & talent, but I’m saying in that interrogation room with Mike and Harvey, Harvey’s behavior and his behavior leading up to that scene was as if he weren’t human. He was a superhuman, an ultimate problem solver, which he is by character, but impossible in real life. He projected himself as completely invincible to a fault as if nothing had happened, as if he didn’t just finish a battle with the giants and spilled blood to win, as if he weren’t phased at all — to a fault — by Mike being arrested, and as if he was invincible, and all of this because he didn’t show sufficient emotion. He was too good, too calculated, too strong. And there is a difference between simply being strong, which Harvey was, and being strong, though you are shaken albeit little at heart. And the correct response in real life or in a real situation would have been the latter, where Harvey would have shown at least a single moment of slip, flaw in his invincibility, some uncomfortable emotion, or at least the facial expression of it. But maybe it was simply the need to just get everything in there in 45 minutes, maybe it was overlooking this very small, almost inadmissable detail in the grand scheme of things (which this really is, it doesn’t really matter), and maybe it was just the directoral decision, but Harvey was played out that way. Ultimately, the narrative flowed really well, and there were more than enough details and dynamics in play given to the audiences to disregard such minor detail, but it’s just something I’ve noticed. Regardless, what I want to say is that I’ve got some things to consider looking at Harvey, because he can be unrealistic, and he can be the character that may be pretty close to perfection in this series — at least professionally, though Jessica, Robert, and Michael doesn’t come short. His almost unrealistically perfect effectiveness at work and the ability to clearly focus on the solution and situation without emotional interference from his own part or others is something that need to be incorporated to professional efficiency that any firm or company in real life could benefit from. So that is what I can say about Harvey, and it’s hard to really connect with him, at least for this episode, as he is always someone who’s got it all figured out, and is unusually strong or unemotional, even when he is. And that he is often characterized in a grander-than-life scheme in a consistent, but with slightly unrealistic inclinations. But because he is that, when he does project those slightly unrealistic, perfected tendencies, it is good to benchmark those proclivities and responses and aim to be better in real life — by aiming to be him in certain situations or contexts.

Lastly, I guess this comes to the end of the episode. First, I’ll talk about Donna, it was again hard to relate with her, but again, this shows how unrealistically strong this woman is, very idealistic, and so unbelievably capable of solving just about anything or any situation life has in store for her. I would love to meet a woman like that who is loyal, dependent, and confident, while knowing how to stand up for herself — and also cares about others. It’s not that I haven’t, but she is in a fictional story and she is just unshaken, relentless, and her character is unbreakable, whereas in real life everyone has moments of weaknesses, and cannot be sharp all the time everywhere — just like Harvey. But importantly, the thing that happened today that introduced another dynamic was that Donna is going back to Harvey and also they both know that Lewis was the one who played it like a team to be able to let her go in the first place — it was his idea. Now this trio dynamic has never survived more than half a season, or many times not even an episode, perpetually throughout duration of the 5 seasons in this series, but I’m interested to see how this re-unification of the three people that seems to be happening here will come into play in the future episodes with new problems and situations.

Next, needless to say, Rachel and Mike made up their insecurities going through this new exposed problem of Mike’s secret, and there were much to get from this interaction (Mike’s projection of his insecurities mentioned above for one, mainly). But what’s the most interesting to me was Jessica dropping by Lewis’s Mud place! This was actually one of the scenes that caught me by surprise, along with seeing Scotty, seeing Donna waiting inside at Harveys, and seeing Robert Zane walk in through that door in the beginning. I did not expect one bit for Jessica to drop in to Lewis and the shot was perfect. It was directed so well with the angle from Lewis and Jessica entering into the screen in the center-ish far right. The angle was perfect and the setting, place, and dialogues were just mind-blowing. Hence, I think that’s why the director put it at the end too, though the narrative matched the sequence of the shots. And I’m pretty sure the writers are getting a huge crack out of this behind the scenes showing some hubris on how dope that scene was or how well the lines were written — how creative, powerful, and impactful they were. They were really thoughtful and it is really impressive. I think the lines were something like Lewis comes mudding and “I knew where to find you, because shooting range is for anger, something else is for depression, and mudding is for the broken heart.” And that was not only emotional, but it was so thoughtful that the writers read into the character of Lewis and created a story behind his actions, but also that it revealed so much about what exactly Lewis is going through and really personified him and made him real, not just a character — By adding in such intricate detail that is so deep and meaningful. And while I was also surprised by how Lewis reacted to Jessica first by saying, “Jessica, what are you doing here?” as opposed to, “Jessica!?” or “What?!” or not knowing what to say, it was clear that Lewis despite the confounding, and surprising situation that might throw off anyone in general, is still a goddamn good attorney and a professional who don’t have much that throws him off that deserves his place in the firm. His response is packed with integrity, calm, and intelligence to address and respond to any arising situations deftly. Most of all, the quotes that stuck by me was when the often “self-serving, egoistic, petty, power hungry” perceived Lewis and rather “logical, classy, and charismatic, driven” perceived Jessica was switched by an intricate dialogue. Incorporating the often quote-off in movies, this time, the writers incorporated the Lord of The Rings, and though I am not the most familiar with the movie, when Jessica quoted something from that movie, Lewis responded with surprised, “What the f — you know the Lord of the Rings?” to which Jessica responded, “Of course, after all, it is a movie about power.” And yes, this sounds normal coming from Jessica, who is driven, but also values power and her position. But the surprise was that how which Lewis responded to that answer keeping in mind that he’d been previously in this very episode been called self-serving and judged as a non-team player by Jessica herself. Lewis says, “That’s funny, I thought it was a movie about friends.” And the shot was priceless. The close-up to Lewis from the bottom-up or on eye-level I cannot recall, but the shot was distinctly made to emphasize and zoom in in his words and underscore them. Combined with a switch to this shot from a long-shot to Jessica, from a longshot to a closeup to Lewis, it’s clear the director and writers definitely wanted this to stand out and wanted the audience to hear this clearly from Lewis. The sequence was almost made to explicitly make this shot, if it by itself, stand out — which I really think deserves this much emphasis from the directors and writers. It was such a mind-blowing quote, maybe one of those quotes that suits can be remembered by too. This was as impactful and as significant as Robert Zane entering that door as Mike’s attorney in the beginning. The audience is dumb-founded hearing Lewis’s response, from a man who has been labelled as self-serving, who Jessica questioned in that very conversation and earlier in the episode too, and who is often seen as the furthest thing from a team player and family. Seeing Rick Hoffman pull that off with just the right amount of nonchalance, truthfulness, and mediocrity was another needless evidence that Rick Hoffman is truly an amazing, superb actor with a masterful understanding of human nature himself I carefully assume. He is really such an inspiration, and such a talented actor as is all the actors in Suits, but he deserves much praise for not being the A-List celebrity or the Main Guy in movies but someone who puts in relentless hours into his craft, aims to perfect it to the t, and someone who shines from the background as much as the main actors even when the spotlight is on them. I admire that — the humility, the seriousness, and respect for his craft that does not come from a place of showing off but from a place to do the best at what he does and drive himself forward. But resultantly, I think that of every single cast member in Suits, from Meghan Markle to Patrick J Adams and Gabriel Macht, and even the kids in the show like the kid who played Mike’s younger self — how believable was that kid, I thought I would cringe about to see this kid trying to shed a tear, but he made it so believable and the writers gave him killer lines. Suits is really an amazing show and it’s amazing how these shows up there are made with such craft, assiduousness, and excellence from the cast to the production crew and directors.

I could go on and on, and really expand and explain, but I think I got down some of the main focal points that lays out across the series. And I think this is enough for now. I just wonder how the writer and directorial team is working on this, I’m just really interested and impressed by all the dynamics in play that is so complex and at the same time delivered so well by the cast and by motion pictures that really gives justice to the writers (though I’m sure a lot are editted or edited out). Anyhow, it is a great show regardless and a show that upholds a standard of excellence on many fronts.

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