I've so far found this season a lot less engaging than last, possibly because I'm not particularly invested in Annie/Auggie the way I perhaps need to be given how central their romance is to the main story arc. Except that it turns out someone on the writing team has an interesting take on the relationship, as can be seen in 'Here Comes Your Man', which isn't afraid to explore a somewhat creepier side of their love for one another. I was pleasantly surprised by the deliberate way this episode showed how problematic a relationship like this can actually be for a spy and her handler; and although the flashforward that opens the episode suggests that Calder is in Henry's pocket and that we shouldn't trust him, and that Annie and Auggie are 'right' not to trust him, the main body of the episode reveals him to, at least on the face of it, have Annie's best interest at heart. The guy he sent in might have been green but he was still a far superior candidate for the mission than Auggie's choice of partner - Teo - who ends up betraying Annie. What made this turn of events fascinating to me is that neither Annie nor Auggie felt any kind of remorse about, or took any real responsibility for, what went down; in fact they were perfectly, conspiratorially, happy with their choice to defy orders and work around Calder. They're so blinded by love they couldn't see that Calder was in fact right about them: that to work together means making bad, emotional decisions. I thought that was excellent, because I was beginning to think their relationship wouldn't add anything to the show's mythology, but if it continues to examine it like this, with a critical rather than sentimental eye, I look forward to seeing where it goes.
And now to the important stuff!
Holy shit season 3 is killing it. I do not understand you naysayers, like. The show is so brilliant now, far better than it was in season 1 imo; I love that it's evolved from episodic procedural into serialized drama while still remaining episodically memorable - my bb's all growed up. Plus everyone is so hot and funny. The dialogue alone in this episode was to die for, but the drama - between Harvey and Donna, Mike and Rachel, Harvey and Jessica - was gripping, in large part because it was earned. We've been building up to a lot of what happened in this episode for a while now, and while the resolutions to the problems that arose weren't really resolutions, they were satisfying in their own right, and we're left in an interesting place.
plus homg the writers ship harvey/mike/rachel so hard I'm struggling to form coherent sentences right now.
Gary Cole. Such a hilarious douche. "Your honor, we've been down this road before, it's called 'bullshit highway.'" ♥
The girls chinwag about Donna's new boyfriend.
Donna: Then why did you tell me I had to tell [Harvey]?
Rachel: To let him know that your there and his here can coexist in the same place.
The Donna storyline is pretty awesome, I have to say - facing head-on the problem of Donna's devotion to Harvey by dealing specifically with Donna's reluctance (inability?) to separate work (Harvey) from her personal life (not Harvey). Even needing to seek permission from Harvey to have a romantic relationship with someone else, and him giving it to her, in a very intense scene which I'll talk about later.
Harvey and Mike plan to get Cameron Dennis off the Hessington case by proving that he leaked the video to Tony Gianopolis. Boys. It is always nice seeing them work together, even if only briefly in this particular episode.
Another great Louis showcase for Rick Hoffman - his storyline is the most lighthearted and even though I didn't think I wanted to see any more bickering between him and Nigel, apparently I can't get enough of them finding (always absurd but somehow perfect) common ground, this time in the shape of Nigel's adorable cat. These two are so mfeo.
I'm not warming to Stephen Huntley.
I am, however, warm all over from the blocking of this scene in which Mike comes in to Harvey's office like it's his and walks around behind Harvey's desk and takes a seat on the ledge, positioning himself at Harvey's side. Like, who does that and why do Harvey and Mike find it normal. It's so familiar, so inappropriate, so fucking sexy jesus christ.
Mike's little face when Harvey makes the bet with Stephen.
Harvey: You're off the case.
His outrage. But he's not willing to pony up ten grand so he wishes them luck, walks out, and goes to see Rachel, who tells him about Donna and Stephen. Of course the first thing Mike thinks of is whether Donna's told Harvey - "But he's gonna care that she didn't tell him" - which shows that Mike understands Harvey and Donna pretty damn well. And then Mike asks Rachel to be his right-hand on a different case, and this happens:
Rachel: You want me to be the Mike to your Harvey.
Mike: I do want you to be the Mike to my Harvey.
Rachel: Yeah well it's not really a thing.
Mike: It can be.
Rachel: I get to ask half the questions.
Mike: lol Harvey doesn't let Mike ask half the questions.
Rachel: Fine, one third.
Mike: Harvey doesn't negotiate with Mike.
Rachel: Mike doesn't have sex with Harvey.
Mike: ... One third of the questions seems reasonable to me.
LET'S BREAK THIS DOWN. First of all Rachel offers to be the Mike to Mike's Harvey. And if that doesn't make your mind slide immediately into the gutter then we're probably never going to understand each other. Rachel is sleeping with Mike, so the suggestion that she and Mike can have the same kind of relationship that Mike and Harvey have adds (YET AGAIN) an implied sexual dimension to Mike and Harvey's relationship. RIGHT? She then specifically states that the only difference between the two relationships is that Harvey and Mike don't have sex, which of course makes Mike wonder how his relationship with Harvey might be different if they were sleeping together, of course it does, because Rachel just got her way by using their sexual relationship as a bargaining chip. Imagine what Mike could achieve if he were to have Harvey in the palm of his hand in the same way he's in the palm of Rachel's. GOD. Not to mention the way Rachel says the words: there's never any suggestion from either of them that Harvey and Mike having sex is outside the realm of possibility, just that it's not happening right now. And Mike's face...
I don't care what anyone says, for a second there he was thinking about what sex with Harvey would be like and he was not hating the thought, no siree (imagine how he would have reacted had that line been about him and Louis). Why would Rachel even say that? Has the thought of them fucking crossed her mind? If it has, she's certainly not jealous. Because she's got eyes and a libido and it's my theory she ships it a little bit too. Which is why if somewhere down the line this ends in an ill-advised (but erotic and, preferably, explicit) threesome I'll be shocked but not surprised.
Louis: I'm certainly not going to let the likes of you tell me who I can and cannot blow.
lol. I love how juvenile the writers are sometimes. ♥
Tony Gianopolis is a shitbag who burns 50K bonds just to prove how little he cares about money.
TG: I'm not in this business for the money. Money's just about keeping score. I'm in this business to win.
God I love this Mike/Rachel storyline. The fraud weighs on Rachel's mind, just as I hoped it would, and here we find out that she is constantly scared of Mike's being discovered, and that a part of her is tempted to run away. Getting "a fresh start", away from Mike, has occurred to her, even though she's deeply in love with him. Because the secret is huge and scary and will continue to have consequences that none of these characters can predict but that all of them know are on the horizon, and bless the writers for continuing to acknowledge that. I was saying to Mel that it's bullshit that couples can't be interesting in drama - Mike and Rachel's story remains dynamic, captivating and romantic because these obstacles aren't contrived - they're not just fundamental to the relationship, they're fundamental to the construction of the character; they are the show's concept brought to life. While Mike continues to be a lawyer he continues to break the law, and I'm not sure Rachel will ever be okay with that (in the way that Harvey and Donna are).
Also Mike insisting that he meets Rachel's parents because he's that serious about her and he has serious expectations of her is great.
Donna tells Harvey she's seeing Stephen and it's implied that Harvey had already figured this out.
Harvey: I can see that.
Donna: You can see that? That's all you have to say?
Harvey: Do you want me to say more?
Donna: Depends on what you would say.
Harvey: I'd say when.
Donna: Three days ago.
Harvey: Why didn't you tell me before?
Donna: I was going to but you got so upset when you thought I was working for him.
Harvey: That's because you work for me.
Donna: Well, I'm not working for him.
Donna: So you're not upset?
Harvey: No. What you're doing with him is personal.
Donna: And this isn't?
Harvey: Donna, I don't want to make this a thing.
Donna: I don't either either, I just want to make sure it doesn't become a thing.
Harvey: It won't. As long as you don't let that affect this.
A part of her wants Harvey to be jealous, it's patently obvious her feelings for him aren't - and may never be - resolved. And it's not like Harvey isn't having a complicated emotional reaction of his own to this news - he's as conflicted as she is - but he works very hard on maintaing a professional, dispassionate façade. Great work by both Sarah and Gabriel in this scene, there was so much going on in between the lines, Harvey repressing whatever feelings he may have about Donna and Stephen in service of preserving the equilibrium. He knows he's partly responsible for Donna's (arguably unhealthy) attachment to him, but as long as he doesn't admit it out loud, as long as he keeps his feelings to himself, he can claim plausible deniability. He knows Donna is hoping for a different reaction, and he knows he can't give her what she wants, so he sets her free (for now, anyway). She acts relieved but she's also disappointed. I think this is good fodder for shippers actually, but it's also good for us non-shippers, because yet again Harvey lays it on the table that he's not interested in Donna romantically, his barely contained displeasure at learning about Donna and Stephen reading to me more like possessiveness than actual jealousy.
LOUIS AND THE CAT.
Nigel: I didn't know you were a cat man.
Louis: Do I have brains in my head? Do I have a heart in my chest? Who is this stunning creature?
Louis: I happen to have a way with those of the feline persuasion.
Rachel changes her mind about inviting Mike to have dinner with her parents.
Rachel: I told you I love you. And I meant it. That's not something I want to hide from my family.
Mike: *steps in close and picks up her hand* I actually made plans, I'm not going to be able to-bad joke?
I love Rachel's mom. I LOVE HER. Dinner at the Zane table consists of much witty banter and genuine familial warmth, and Mike makes a good impression on both parents, because this show is awesome and not cliched and I love it with all my heart.
Stephen subpoena'd TG's daughter without Harvey's permission.
Harvey: You what?
Stephen: He fired our client so I struck back.
Harvey: And you didn't think to run that by me?
Stephen: I didn't think you'd say no.
Harvey: I'd say no because I'm not an idiot.
Stephen: *annoyed* Idiot?
Harvey: We need this man to help us, you just made him a permanent enemy.
Stephen: Me? We did this together.
Harvey: Don't put this on me.
Stephen: You're putting it on me.
Harvey: Because you goddamn did it!
ugh, just throw a bucket of water over me. Not only is Harvey brutally hot, he's COMPLETELY RIGHT ABOUT ALL OF IT. And Stephen thinking it was about Donna was wrong wrong wrong, because there IS a difference between going after the enemy's company and going after his family, and it's a difference that matters a whole hell of a lot to Harvey. And if you came away from that scene thinking his anger was because of Donna and not actually righteous? You don't understand the character. Stephen wants to believe Harvey's jealous of him so he doesn't have to take responsibility for the shitty fucking move he pulled on Gianopolis - and Harvey was right to get offended by the accusation, drop him from the case and then kick him out of his office. God I love this beautiful man.
Rachel's mom: Do you love him? [Rachel nods]. As long as he hasn't killed someone it will all work out.
Harvey goes to Jessica for help and her advice is exactly what he needs, and then the awesome (and revealing) way she deals with Ava, is also exactly what he needs. When they're not fucking each other over they're such a great team - I just wish Harvey appreciated that as much as Jessica does.
Mike finds out from Rachel's father that she applied for Stanford and it upsets him greatly.
Rachel's steel blue cardigan is gorgeous.
Jessica: Nobody is saying we can't try to get you out of this deal later.
If I know television, and I do know television, that is a statement of intent and it refers as much to Jessica's own situation as to Ava's. Jessica's just been talking about her experience after all. Does she have a plan to get herself out of the merger? Is that even possible?
Mike confronts Rachel about Stanford and they fight over her keeping such a big secret from him, but the problem isn't that she kept it a secret, it's that she might move three thousand miles away, end the relationship, and leave Mike broken hearted.
Harvey and Jessica know each other's mood bagels. Poppy seed is the 'good news bad news' bagel. *dies*
Rachel: Even if he waits for you, he did this. And the fear of him getting caught is going to cast a shadow over every moment of the rest of your life together.
Rachel: If you're asking if it occurred to me that going to Stanford could be a fresh start? Yeah.
Mike understands where she's coming from, but he still can't stop thinking about what will happen if Rachel gets in. But she needs him to let her come to the decision on her own. Christ. I'm so invested in these two. WHAT WILL HAPPEN. (Rachel will get into Columbia and stay in NYC, working part time at PDS, so that Meghan can still be in the show???)
Jessica offers Harvey his name on the door. OOOOOH. Harvey accuses her of playing chess again.
Jessica: What does that mean?
Harvey: I wanna know if this is a gesture or if it's a move.
It's both, obviously, but I believe that Jessica does want Harvey back by her side, and I hope that he realizes that.
UGH SO GOOD. :')