Overall thoughts: Harvey was incredible throughout, my absolute favorite, just gorgeous and brilliant and hilarious and sexy and perfect. Rachel and Louis were great together, Jessica was magnificent, Mike was helpful and adorable, it was wonderfully slashy, and it was funny and charming and attractive and everything this show is great at; I love how well the writers know and understand these characters, how much they clearly enjoy these characters, how well they write them, and of course how well the actors perform them. It is such a pleasure to watch this show.
Let the recap commence!
If this pre-credit sequence didn't make you scream your head off with glee I can't help you because you are beyond help. Harvey is feeling sad about Donna so what's the first thing he does? He calls Ray for a ride and a tux and he goes to Mike's apartment uninvited, but most importantly he goes to Mike's apartment uninvited. (How does everyone know where everyone else lives on this show?). He bangs on the door until Mike answers. He goes INSIDE Mike's apartment (and now they've both been inside each other...'s apartment), just walks straight in past Mike because he's super curious to see where Mike lives, doesn't wait to be invited, just walks straight in. Bosses don't behave in this manner. What are they? They're more than colleagues but they're not quite friends. They do behave like they're family, so I'm gonna go with married.
"Nice building. How long ago was it condemned?" I think we can all agree that Harvey's bitchy side is one of his best features. And then he finds a pipe that Mike keeps around in the open for sentimental reasons lol and Harvey is appalled but not appalled enough to dwell on it so instead he makes a derisive comment about the panda - so judgey, Harvey, so judgey - and Mike is all self conscious and nervous because he wants Harvey not to hate his place and also apparently he STILL SMOKES OCCASIONALLY hahahah omg this show so he's feeling a little busted - and then Harvey says possibly the most hilarious line in the episode:
"Get your tux on. We've got a situation."
So much love for this because Harvey says it like he thinks Mike actually has a tux, but of course he knows Mike does not have a tux and he's only saying it so Mike will feel inferior for a few moments because he doesn't have a tux.
Wait for it fangirls. Harvey is taking Mike to ATLANTIC CITY. They're taking a city break together. In evening wear.
Louis runs into a delectable looking Rachel at the ballet and they connect with each other over their mutual love of Donna and ballet. It is TOO CUTE.
Quick aside: fleegull mentioned a while ago on tumblr something that resonated with me, and now whenever I see a scene in a tv show or film in which characters go to the ballet, I think of her post. It had never occurred to me before but when she said it I was like "OH YEAH THAT'S TRUE". But if any of you have been to the ballet in your life you will know that very few people actually dress up like the movies would have us believe is required. These days you'll probably see more people in jeans than in evening wear, but that reality is never reflected in tv/film. I'm not exactly complaining? Because it's always lovely seeing your characters in tuxes and beautiful gowns, but it's by no means realistic.
Ray drives Harvey and Mike to Atlantic City and they are so comfortable in each other's company it is obscene.
Mike: You just carry around an extra tux for the random occasion?
Harvey: Something told me you'd need it. And by something I mean common sense, and by need it I mean you're an idiot.
I love that Harvey thinks less of men who don't own their own tuxes, and that he has a spare one at the ready, in Mike's size. (They're a different size remember - and this tux fits Mike, so. you do the math.)
Mike: You know what I think? I think you're still stung about Donna, you see a chance to blow off some steam, and you need a wing man.
You say wing man, Mike, I say fancy boy. Best thing about it though is that it's both total wishful thinking on Mike's part and also pretty accurate.
They don't show this (PLEASE BE A DELETED SCENE) but unquestionably Harvey tied Mike's bow tie for him. And yes I will forever cry into my pillow that we did not get to see it. *shakes fist* I also choose to believe that Mike deliberately fucked it up just so Harvey would have to tie it for him.
Harvey takes Mike to a casino that Mike was banned from three years ago for counting cards, not because he was trying to cheat but because he can't help it because his brain 'just does it' but then it turns out that he was broke and definitely trying to cheat. lolol I love it how Mike plays in the gray as much as Harvey does.
The boys - who are at this point let's be honest who are we trying to kid, on a date - get offered complementary champagne because they're so well dressed. Mike, who was initially skeptical about the need for getting dressed up is finally impressed as well as absolutely delighted to be on Harvey's arm. He pounds his champagne and grabs another, and, quick aside: I do love me a character who enjoys his champagne *kindred spirit*
But Harvey then grabs the second champagne out of Mike's hand - and Mike doesn't even protest, he looks outraged for a second and then just gets over it, so beautifully submissive - because he doesn't want Mike to get drunk because he likes to be in control of Mike and that's not possible or at least it's more difficult if Mike's drunk. *flailing insanely* WHY DOES THIS PLEASE ME SO MUCH?
They're there to see an alcoholic, gambling addict client who might be in trouble, and who is currently involved in a high stakes poker game, much to Harvey's fury.
Mike: That's why you're here - you're concerned about him (Mike loves pointing it out when Harvey feels human emotion but he also knows Harvey better than he knows anyone, because then he says) But you also wanna gamble. (and I love Patrick's line delivery here - he makes it clear that Mike likes and enjoys all these facets of Harvey. ugh, they're so close it kills me. I hope this show never does a rift storyline because I won't be able to handle it)
Harvey: He has a problem. I do not have a problem. (and of course, as ever, all the awards for Gabriel's line delivery.)
Harvey huffing and puffing with anger: *instant orgasm*
The addict client Keith Hoyt loses his entire 30 million dollar company in the poker game, natch, and here is our story: Harvey and Mike have to get the company back. Yay! This is already so much more fun than Tennis Boy.
Credits! Wow that was a long teaser.
Hoyt is drunk and moaning about how he got rinsed even though it was his own fault and Harvey and Mike make eye contact and communicate their feelings without speaking. Both are essentially thinking: 'can you believe this chump.'
Mike: Wait wait wait wait. I'm in Atlantic City. I'm in a tux! You want me baby sitting? I'm supposed to be your wing man!
Harvey: I'm trusting you with him. That *is* being my wing man.
Awwwwww I feel you Mike baby. I want you to be by Harvey's side at all times too. Mike is very disappointed! Jeez Harvey you big meanie how could you do this to him.
Louis and Rachel sign a client at the ballet and Rachel is radiant and funny and I really enjoy the chemistry between these two.
This is a lovely scene: the back and forth cutting between Harvey in the restaurant negotiating with the bad guys, and Mike explaining what Harvey's doing to Hoyt. It's not an original technique by any means but it works well here because the show has firmly established how well Mike and Harvey know and understand each other (and the law), so it's very nearly plausible that they'd be able to finish each other's sentences even when they're not in the same room. Yeah, I said it and I'll stand by it. My point is, they have chemistry even when they're not in the same room and this entire scene is warm and sparkly.
Harold is brought in for a couple scenes just to be the clown. This show's love for Harold (and presumably the actor Max Topplin, who plays him) makes me happy.
Harvey and Jessica chat on the phone and while Harvey talks to her he wins his poker game, because he's that good. And he's bluffing, but it's more than that: he's playing the man and he knows exactly what to do to fuck with the guy's head and make him fold, and he's so fucking good at it he makes it look easy. Thank the gods of television for giving this to us - we saw Harvey win at poker in the pilot but this episode shows us HOW he wins, and it's so well written and Gabriel is so fucking good, I don't for a minute doubt his abilities or feel short changed by the writing. Great stuff, show.
The very moment his opponent folds, Harvey says, "I had nothing." *DEAD* Because Harvey loves other people knowing (and hating) how awesome he is. He takes such pleasure in being the best and that's one of the many reasons he is such an appealing character.
Hot casino woman: Are you trying to impress me?
Harvey: With nothing? I don't remember you impressing that easily.
Hot casino woman: I don't remember being impressed at all.
Her words say no but the look on her face says 'yes I was impressed then and I'm impressed now please fuck me again'. Because they clearly had sex at some point in the past. oh dear GOD I need this show to give me more scenes of Harvey with women. I love how he is with women, I love how he flirts and how he both respects and objectifies women all at the same time and I want another Harvey sex scene so badly I could cry.
He tells her he needs security footage and HCW tells him she can't give him that and he says, "Yes you can. And you will."
jesus could he be more of a Dom? I can't even handle how well these writers get this character.
Jessica goes to see Judge Ella, who is super mad at Jessica because of a really cruel prank played on her many years ago. I...love this storyline. Jessica's cool, calm and collected smack-down of her is completely gratifying but in a really interesting, complicated way, because what she did to Ella was so wrong. I love how this show challenges our ability to sympathize with these characters by examining their flaws, and it pulls no punches with Jessica: she is a tough, brilliant bitch, and she has walked ruthlessly over other people to get to where she is today, and the show doesn't pussyfoot around that. Just. I love how flawed Jessica is and how this show relishes and celebrates her darker side, telling stories that show us how and why she's as successful as she is, and that the path she's chosen has required a fair bit of ethical flexibility - Jessica is a master of the game and she takes no prisoners and no one gets the better of her, ever.
Mike and Harvey return to the NYC office in their tuxes. Harvey's bow tie is still tied, Mike's is not, and Mike's collar is also unbuttoned. I feel like maybe this is supposed to symbolise the differences in their characters? Like, Harvey is kinda uptight, and Mike's a stoner at heart. <3
Mike is unclear on something and Harvey explains.
Mike: Not the thing I'm unclear on.
Harvey: I don't have time to explain where babies come from.
LOL HOW IS THIS SHOW REAL.
Sex banter ftw. Particularly sex banter where Harvey goes into Daddy mode. (ALL THE KINKS THIS SHOW HAS AAAALL THE KINKS)
I think this might be my favourite scene: the meeting of Cameron, Harvey's new assistant.
*screaming with joy*
Like. All through this entire ridiculous beautiful scene of marriedness I was silently screaming with joy.
Cameron: Mr Specter, I'm Cameron, your assistant.
Harvey looks utterly appalled, Mike looks concerned.
Harvey: Where are my-
Cameron: Messages, urgent to ignorable, top to bottom. I also took it upon myself to fan the folders on your desk in alphabetical order.
Mike: Look at that, Harvey, he fanned your folders in an order of some sort.
LOLOL. I can't deal with this scene at all. Harvey can't even speak he's so horrified and so Mike speaks for him and mocks everyone involved, and then gives Cameron some kind advice: do not change anything else because it will upset Harvey. But mostly he does this out of his want/love/need to take care of Harvey. And Harvey is so like. omg. like HILARIOUSLY DEPENDENT on Mike that when he walks into his office and sees the flowers he doesn't know what to do himself so he CALLS MIKE'S NAME to come help him, because Mike needs to fix this for him, he needs Mike right now, go to him Mike, GO TO HIM!!!11111
Louis makes a beautiful speech about ballet at Harold, who doesn't understand ballet:
"[It gives dancers] discipline and grace, it embodies our emotions, it's breathtaking in its beauty, and most importantly it expresses what cannot be put into words. You wanna get ahead here Harold? Take ballet, because right now the only thing that's breathtaking about you can easily be put into words: Nothing."
Bam. You tell him Louis. (Poor Harold.) And Rachel is liking Louis more and more, and I adore how excited she is to be doing lawyer work instead of paralegal work. She's friggin GLOWING. I will kill myself if she doesn't ace the lsats. How long does one have to wait to find out the results out of interest? Will it be soon?
Jessica tells Harvey about her prank, and again the dialogue in this show makes me want to curl up in a ball and weep with gratitude.
Harvey: What did you do?
Jessica: Why do you assume I did something?
Harvey: What did you do?
Jessica: It was a prank.
Harvey: How bad was it?
Jessica: We went to law school together and I got her drunk.
Jessica: So she woke up in front of the entire Con Law class.
Jessica: She might have been naked.
Harvey: Might have?
Harvey: We're screwed.
I can't with these two.
And then omg i can't actually breathe but Harvey confesses to peeing in the corner of Louis's office and blaming it on Louis's cat (RIP). AND JESSICA IS DELIGHTED BY THIS. <33333
Rachel and Mike run into each other and Rachel tells Mike about how she's working for Louis now because she wants Mike to know how well she's doing and Mike is proud of her and it's all really sweet and tense and sexy between them.
Poker Case is not going well for Harvey because the opposing lawyer is too awesome and his awesomeness surprises (and impresses) both Harvey and Mike. Mike raves about the opposing lawyer and Harvey's all "are you trying to piss me off more" and Mike's like, "yeah, it focuses you, it's what you do to me," and Harvey's all, "yeah because you don't have a natural killer instinct," and Mike's super offended like, "yes I do," and Harvey's all, "Good, because I need you to use it. See what I did there?" And Mike's like, "Yeah."
THEY COMPLETE EACH OTHER.
You don't fuck with Jessica Pearson. That's the main lesson I'm taking from this episode.
The ballet case takes an unexpected turn and oh dear it looks like Louis's ex ballet dancing legend client who he worships is a scoundrel.
We're back with the Hoyt/poker/energy company case that Harvey and Mike are basically losing at this point and we cut to the courtroom where eventually opposing counsel gets the better of them again, but there is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT LINE that happens in this scene that I need to highlight right now so we can all just roll around in it for a little while and get dirty.
Ginger Dude: And I'll tell you something else. I also know very little about ice cream. Yeah I mean, I enjoy vanilla but beyond that, nothing.
Harvey: *contemptuous face* Vanilla. Coulda guessed.
Don't mind me I'm just taking that as canonical confirmation that Harvey likes kinky sex. He certainly has no time for vanilla. I'm starting to suspect someone on the writing team is reading fanfiction.
Harvey is disturbed about the fact that his hotdog was bought out of a truck and shares his philosophy on hotdogs with Mike:
"This is New York. I want a cart, a vendor, or a vague sense of danger, that the hotdog might be made of anything."
*crying* he is my perfect character.
Mike: I think I saw some cats lurking by the truck.
Harvey: Stop trying to make me feel better. *takes a massive bite of his dog* Not so bad!
♥ ♥ ♥
Harvey's stumble in court has made him all defeatist about the case, he tells Mike they're not going to win, not because the other lawyer's better than Harvey but because he has a better hand and he knows it. This meshes nicely with the poker theme of the episode, if not Harvey's previous characterization, but it's not like he's really given up - the moment Mike suggests they "play a new hand" Harvey is listening. He does still want to win! Hurrah!
Mike: You're always talking about this gun being pointed at your head. What if we take off our jacket and show them we have a bomb strapped to our chest? *two extras pass by looking at Mike in horror* Metaphor! Metaphor!
But Harvey likes it. And that's the moment, in case you were in any doubt, that we know for sure our heroes are gonna win.
Louis: at eight years old a rebel gliding down his own path of ballet
Rachel repeats Louis's ballet speech back at Louis and then gets him back in the game by calling him ruthless and mean, and if "someone wrongs him he wouldn't hesitate to tear them apart limb from limb." YEAH!
They go kick some ass and Rachel - not unlike Mike a few episodes ago - is really starting to like Louis. That's the tragedy of Louis right there - when he's amazing he's amazing and fun and loveable, and then he ruins it.
Jessica: I wanted that job. I know what I did. I'm not sorry I did it. And I'd do it again.
That's how you take over the world.
Mike stops by Rachel's office because Rachel looks confused and she confesses to him that she likes Louis.
Mike: Trust me, I've been there. It doesn't last.
And then Mike discovers Louis's dictaphone and the reason Mike listens to it is so he can find out about Louis bugging Harvey's office but the writers pretend it's because Mike views it as a window into the mind of Louis Litt and is too amused/intrigued by that prospect not to invade Louis's privacy and have a good laugh at his expense (Mike x gray area = otp) and yes it's contrived and none of it feels remotely natural mostly because every viewer watching the show knows exactly what Mike is going to conveniently find, but still. *DRAAAMAA* And the pay off is... well we'll get to that.
Mike explains to Rachel and the audience in case one of us wasn't paying attention that Louis must have planted this in Harvey's office and recorded their conversation! And the first thing Mike worries about is what's going to happen if(when) he tells Harvey. Harvey will kill Louis, Mike fears. And then Harvey walks in and spots immediately that Mike is hiding something from him because these two are spiritually connected and they can't even try to have secrets from each other.
[For my reference: Harvey and Rachel briefly in a scene together although they don't interact because this show is TORTURING ME.]
Harvey: We have three choices here. We move forward with the suit: lose lose. We can give you the money back, plus the five hundred thousand. Or you and I can play poker for it. *Mike spins his head to stare at Harvey* *Harvey lowers his thumb and forefinger to flip the bird* And I'm not giving you your money back.
Sexiest. Man. Alive.
And now we get to see Harvey play poker again *FLAPS*
Mike tries to convince Harvey to let him play, because Mike knows the odds of every card of every hand before it's even dealt and then Harvey schools Mike in the real art of poker.
Harvey: Pick a card in your mind, any card.
Mike: *scoffing* what you're gonna tell me what the card is?
Harvey: No, I'm gonna tell you what it isn't. It's not one of the fifty two cards in a deck. Because you think you're smarter than me, it's a baseball card, or a football card, or...*figures it out* it's the joker.
HE NAILED HIM. Mike looks disturbed.
Harvey: I told you this before I'm gonna tell you again, I don't play the odds, I play the man.
*CUDDLES CONTINUITY FOREVER*
Mike tells Harvey about Louis's bug. I LOVE THAT HE DIDN'T EVEN GO ONE CONVERSATION WITHOUT TELLING HARVEY ABOUT THAT. *sniffles*
Harvey: Are you just saying that to make me mad so I can focus?
Okay, so I'm putting this out there right now, but Harvey playing poker is my new bullet proof kink. I am so turned on by Harvey playing poker? I'm throwing out my vibrator and replacing it with Harvey playing poker.
He doesn't even give a shit about the cards! He just ruins his opponent with ~psychology~ He reads them, he owns them, he beats them.
Ginger dude: You really think you can handle me?
Harvey: Oh I think I'll be just fine. (his confidence KILLS me)
GD: Because this isn't Sunday afternoon bridge with your grandmother.
Mike: (who is dealing the cards. which I find so funny and adorable I can't stop laughing) I don't see how that's an insult to a person.
At this point Harvey gives him a look, like: 'pipe down, princess' and Mike's all, "I'll just keep dealing."
GD makes a pathetically small bet and Harvey says, "Look, we're supposed to play until one of us is busted, even if it takes all night, but you know what? I don't have all night."
He pushes all his chips into the pot. He's ALL IN. Just like the episode title promised us.
Harvey: Who's the grandmother now?
*screaming* Mike is so proud of Harvey.
Blah blah Harvey destroys Ginger Dude and then reports back to Jessica, who accuses him of being out of control because Donna's gone and he took Mike to a casino. She says the last part like...it's this terribly irresponsible thing to do because Mike is their CHILD what was Harvey THINKING you don't take Mike to a CASINO he's too YOUNG AND IMPRESSIONABLE why would you Harvey why would you.
I like this conversation a lot, Jessica is great at putting Harvey in his place, she dominates him in a way no one else does and I find it ridiculously hot. She says to him "You think I didn't remember your 'life is this and I like this' speech?" which is a speech we saw him make to Mike and I'm charmed by the fact that he's used it on other people too because he's so pleased with it. But Harvey needs Jessica to reign him in and she gives him good advice: you're a person and you're fallible and you need to calm the fuck down.
Jessica: Sometimes we lose.
Harvey: Sometimes? I don't know about you but I feel like that's all we've been doing lately. Hardman's back, Donna's gone, we're being sued. I mean we're fighting for our goddamn lives here. I just had a huge win and I'm not in the mood to hear why it might have turned out as a loss.
*grave nod* I feel you, boo. But Jessica just needs to know you're focused.
Harvey: I'm focused.
omg this confrontation between Harvey and Louis... oh. my. fucking. god. The way he *advances* on Louis is so fucking
"There's gonna come a day Louis when I need something from you and when I do you're gonna remember that I let this pass. Daniel Hardman is not the answer. You owe me."
This show is my LIFE FORCE. It just keeps getting better and better and I love it and this might be my favorite episode so far but I'm not sure because I've kind of loved all of them this season.