oh yes, there it is: A RIVER OF TEARS.
We're going to talk a lot about the way Mike and Harvey's breakup was positioned as a romantic break up in literally every scene devoted to dealing with it. And how that made it both funnier and more heart-wrenching all at the same time. What's really interesting about the way the show writes these two is that it feels very true to their relationship (as opposed to queer baity) because these guys genuinely do love and need and want each other (I want you to want me). Not necessarily sexually (although let's be real Mike's pillow talk with Rachel last week was hard confirmation that Mike wouldn't be opposed to the idea) but in all the other important ways: as friends, companions, colleagues, mentor/mentee.
They remain the pulsating heart of the show and if y'all weren't absolutely terrified throughout this episode that Louis would succeed in luring Mike away from Harvey then you don't understand this show and I'm not sure why you're watching it. Yes it sucks that Louis got burned here, because he really didn't deserve it, but what gave the storyline its dramatic and emotional tension is that we all knew deep down that Louis would fail, we wanted him to fail, even while it's not fair at all that the episode's happy ending would be at his expense.
Louis's seduction of Mike was, similarly, romantically coded - good food, wine, naked mud baths, emotional pain at being discarded in the end etc etc - because that's the level he has to play at. Harvey is Louis's romantic rival, and Louis's heartbreak at the end was real and true. Admittedly I was too overwhelmed with happiness at Harvey and Mike's - beautiful, gorgeous, perfect - reconciliation to get too upset for Louis, but I do feel sorry for the poor guy.
Rachel asks Mike how it went with Harvey, Mike tells her Harvey still won't speak to him and Rachel wants to give him a hug to make him feel better. She knows Mike's miserable without Harvey and she wants to see them kiss and make up (*giant wink*) so that Mike will be happy. Mike's happiness is important to Rachel because Rachel is a wonderful girlfriend who - at least at this early point in the story - ships Harvey/Mike just like the rest of us.
Jessica is trying to fix her working relationships (yay! this is good to see) and offers Louis his own associate. Of course he would want Mike! Because everyone wants Mike. And he's really excited about it because Louis adores Mike, more than he's ever adored any other associate.
Louis: I need the 411 on the breakup.
Donna: Are we in high school?
Louis: Life is high school. I need to know if the prom king and his boy wonder are still an item.
Louis: Did Mike and Harvey Break Up break up? Or did they take a time out and like say to each other 'hey, let's see other people, make sure that we're sure.'
LOL. Louis begins the courting of Mike by finding out from Donna if Mike's actually single now. And I love his gleeful and shameless nodding when Donna correctly intuits that "Jessica feels sorry for you so she's giving you your pick of the litter. And now you're sniffing around here trying to put the moves on Mike behind Harvey's back." Donna gets right into the spirit of the metaphor. She's still being a complete dick towards Mike of course, but that doesn't mean she can't see how much Harvey is suffering without him, so she isn't above frolicking in that overflowing pool of homoerotic subtext and who can blame her. I assume Donna sympathisers will read her behaviour in the past few episodes as admirable: when Harvey hurts, Donna hurts. But I dunno, she uses her blind loyalty to Harvey as an excuse for pretty much every shitty thing she does - being a dick to Mike, destroying the memo, fucking Rachel over - so honestly it's not the great and awesome personality trait she thinks it is.
*gleeeee* Harvey's reaction to Louis's nightmare four nippled prom date story = priceless. We don't often see Harvey laugh so it's like gold dust. :') Also, Harvey's so confident that Mike will say no to Louis that he happily gives his blessing. DEEP DOWN Harvey knows he'll take Mike back. He's still being a stubborn prick about the whole thing but he also still sees Mike as one of his possessions and secretly he does believe in Mike's loyalty. "Oh I know he'll say no." Why does he know this? Because he knows Mike is loyal to him and that what happened was a one off. We spend the rest of the episode seeing Harvey figuring this out and forgiving him; the road to forgiveness is a long and treacherous one but Harvey has been hiking up it for a while now, which is why his about-turn from 'we're done' to 'you belong with me' wasn't quite as hilariously sudden as it seemed.
Louis: Once permission is given you can never go back. Speak now or forever hold your peace. [haha the writers are having so much fun with this]
Harvey: Fine. He's yours. I'm sure you two will be very happy together.
EPISODE'S MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF CANON:
Mike has a huge dick.
Rachel: You don't know the half of it.
Let's all sing it together.
♫MIKE HAS A HUGE DICK♫
This goddamn show's commitment to being sexy makes my life worth living.
I love how bad Mike and Louis are at quoting movies at each other. They get better at it but even by the end when they're actually on the same page it still doesn't feel as natural as it does when Mike and Harvey do it.
Michelle Fairley has the sexiest, smokiest voice ever.
Mike: I can be fast.
Rachel: I know.
Mike: That was a one time thing.
OH MY GOD. WHICH TIME I WONDER. Are they referring to the file room? I bet they both came really fast and really hard because they'd been wanting it so badly for so long. nnnnggggggghhhhhhhh. these two are so great together - they have tons of chemistry and the actors clearly adore working with one another. *clutches heart*
Harvey's mustang is fucking sweet.
Cameron Dennis is such a giant douche but Gary Cole is having so much fun playing him he's almost - almost - likable.
Let's talk about mudding.
So while Louis and Mike taking a mud bath together is very funny indeed, and I love that Mike ended up enjoying it as much as he did, the key to the humour in this scene is Mike's physical aversion to Louis. Kudos to Rick Hoffman for being so game and for allowing his naked body to be the butt of the joke btw, but the more important thing about this scene is not the text, but the subtext. We can't forget that Louis is competing with Harvey for Mike's affection. And so we have to imagine how differently this scene would have gone had it been Harvey in the mud without any clothes on, we have to acknowledge that Mike would not be at all uncomfortable with Harvey's nudity the way is with Louis's. Mike himself must be considering this fact because he is being asked to trade Harvey in for Louis; Louis, who as his new mentor is offering him intimate naked encounters, completely unlike Mike's encounters with the always fully dressed Harvey (who Mike is actually attracted to).
Honestly, this is the slashiest show on television. Eat your heart out Teen Wolf.
Mike knows Harvey well and he's so scared of putting a foot wrong. "Someone butting in and telling him what to do is only going to push him further away." *whimpers* He's not right to take it out on Rachel but at least the truth comes out about Harvey.
Rachel: Oh? So it's okay if you screwed me so long as you lied. [...] Oh my god that's why you cut things off with me.
And now Rachel is FUMING with Harvey, which gives me all sorts of shippy butterflies because that means, SURELY, we will get an emotional confrontation between them at some point hopefully soon please god let it be soon. Damn straight too, Harvey wasn't wrong to want to keep the secret from Rachel but Rachel sure as hell isn't wrong to hate him for it. *claps* Conflict between Rachel and Harvey? Conflict between Mike's girlfriend and Mike's boyfriend? GIVE IT TO ME, GIVE IT ALL TO ME IMMEDIATELY.
Rachel lands a low blow at the end of this conversation (which she apologises for later because she's a sweet beatuiful angel) by telling Mike that Harvey gave Louis his blessing and Harvey's over Mike and Mike should move the hell on. Ouch.
This, naturally, sends Mike into a panic-hurt-outrage spiral of fury that quickly lands in Harvey's office.
For a most devastating scene indeed I think we can all agree.
Harvey: I didn't give you to Louis as punishment. I gave you to Louis because you and I are done.
Mike: Harvey, I regret what I did. But I'm telling you right now, you're gonna regret this.
I want you to want me.
Lots of talk about regret in this episode.
Harvey: I said you and I, we're done.
Mike walks out and the next thing we see is Harvey drowning his sorrows on the balcony, 'not in the mood' to speak to Jessica.
Mel and I were talking the other day about how we'd like Harvey to react to finding out about Mike telling Rachel the secret and what happened in this episode was pretty much exactly what we wanted. Hurrah! It barely even bothers Harvey, not compared with the Jessica thing (because Harvey's hurt by Mike's disloyalty, but he can forgive disobedience, especially when Mike's decision to tell Rachel is understandable), and by the end he's giving them his blessing because Mike's happiness actually matters to him. *sob*
I love Jessica and I'm glad that the show isn't siding with Harvey in this conflict between them: it's complex and interesting and Harvey might be angry with her, he may not be able to forgive her, but he does still respect her. Which is why he tells Cameron Dennis that it was Jessica who was truly his mentor. Jessica's face when he said that omg.
Ugh I'm so on Rachel's side in this confrontation with Donna.
Rachel: You cared more about protecting Harvey than protecting me.
Donna: Yes, Rachel, that's my job!
Wow Donna. You suck.
Rachel: This wasn't about a job for me. This was about having a life. But I guess you wouldn't understand that.
BURRRN. Also, true. Donna's life is Harvey. He is more than just a job to her, he is everything. H/D shippers like that, I guess, even though it's fucking creepy and gross and not reciprocated. To each their own.
Louis claims that Harvey doesn't love the law, he loves winning. Interesting. True though? Can you get to where Harvey is in his career and not love the law? *shrug*
Have I mentioned yet how supremely attractive Harvey is? Because if not that's an oversight on my part and I apologise. But Harvey is extremely attractive.
Ava: That doesn't mean I'm not going to miss him.
Harvey: *internally weeps over how badly he's missing Mike*
It's Donna who says the final thing Harvey needs to hear: "If this whole thing is Jessica's fault maybe it's time we considered forgiving Mike."*
Shudder. But at least she got through to him and Harvey decides once and for all to go get his boy back. And in the single most poignant, romantic and wonderful last scene of any episode of television ever, Harvey and Mike get back together. Immediately after Mike agrees to be Louis's associate, while Louis is off getting the cake he'd had specially made to welcome Mike to Team Litt, Harvey swoops in:
Harvey: I can't let you do this.
Mike: Let me?
Harvey: Don't do this.
Mike: I already said yes. I can't go back on my word.
Harvey: You're not going back on your word. You're going back where you belong.
Mike: I am.
BECAUSE THEY BELONG TOGETHER AND THEY BOTH KNOW IT.
Mike: I am sorry.
Harvey: I know. Look, why don't you take tonight off and go out with your girlfriend.
Harvey takes a few steps towards Mike. Mike closes the distance, offering his hand. "Thanks Harvey," he says. Harvey doesn't accept Mike's proffered hand because, "No, we're going up top." Louis, cake in hand, watches them from afar, his heart breaking.
AND THEN MIKE AND HARVEY HIGH FIVE EACH OTHER BECAUSE THIS SHOW LOVES US AND WANTS US TO BE HAPPY.
Poor Louis, but I can live with his disappointment because my boys are back together and nothing will ever tear them apart again. (Right, Korsh?!??!!!>!>>!!)