So buckle up, this got long.
SUITS DOES ROMANCE.
If you're new here or if you haven't been paying attention you might not know this about me, but I loooooove romance. More than anything else in the whole world. Stick some romance in my crack pipe and I will smoke that shit all fucking day and night until it kills me. I get enraged by fannish claims that romantic storylines are inherently inferior because fuck you they are not, romance is as valid a form of drama as any other, possibly even more so given how important romantic love is to almost every single person on this planet. The problem - and this is a problem with all kinds of stories - is that it's very rarely done well. Most romance we see in the mainstream is sentimental, tiresome drivel, too often happening between characters who don't have any chemistry; too often it's a regurgitation of cliches written by writers who have no understanding of human nature or the way people actually relate to each other in real life. So don't get me wrong, I am fussy about the romance I like. But when I like it? NOTHING makes me happier.
The rare romantic stories that resonate with us do so because the writers and performers have tapped into something truthful: usually messy, probably complicated, always sexy (b/c romantic storylines should always be sexy).
So imagine my endless delight when Suits, show of my heart and soul, delivered the most wonderful, romantic, unsentimental-yet-intensely-moving hour of television of the year. I didn't just sob my heart out because these characters mean the world to me, I sobbed my heart out because this episode was *really fucking good*, and it nailed the romance.
There was a lot of fraught emotion going on (although, naturally, it was still choca with great one-liners - "You have a subscription to Harvey Specter monthly and I know it"), but on the lighter side of things we got a very adorbs C storyline, in which Louis finds love on a more permanent basis with "Female Louis" Shelia Sasz. I don't have much to say about this, and it didn't drastically move me the way the other stories did, because while there was a certain sweetness to how it played out the relationship has never been taken seriously enough by the show for me to be particularly invested in their future as a couple. Which isn't to say I don't love them together, just that I don't think I'll lose any sleep if they break up. From a thematic perspective it worked beautifully: all three of our guys got a happy ending with the woman they love (and Donna got to, yet again, stick it to the man who broke her heart).
Like I said last week, Rachel was never actually going to go to Stanford so the outcome of her dilemma was a given, but it's not the outcome that makes a good story it's the getting there. And Mike's struggle to come to terms with Rachel considering leaving him was as engaging as it was heart-wrenching. Interestingly the text did not make explicit that one of the pluses in Rachel's Stanford column must have been escaping from the fraud situation (in fact she appeared to have given up on the idea that leaving would allow her fresh start, claiming that she would be able to make things work with Mike long distance), but the spectre of Mike's criminality hung over the decision making process regardless. Jessica's discovery that Rachel knew the secret is only the first in what I imagine will be a long line of scary consequences for Rachel now that she's elected to stay in NYC. That Rachel is such a badass bitch (as penumbra screamed at me on twitter after the episode aired "WHY IS RACHEL SO GREAT WHY IS SHE SECRETLY THE BADDEST MOTHERFUCKER ON THE SHOW OMG") she'll use Jessica's ultimatum to her advantage by getting her to waive the Harvard rule for her, makes me GIDDY with love and joy. It would have been perfectly understandable for a situation like that to have had the opposite effect, making her more determined than ever to run for the hills. Instead she went: I love this man, I don't want to lose this man, this man is pain in my fucking ass but hey turns out there are ways I can use his troublesomeness to my advantage; I can get something I want out of this fucked up situation AND I get to keep my man. Bad. Ass. MOFO.
Probably the most difficult aspect of the episode was seeing Mike in so much pain. Unlike Harvey Mike wears his heart on his sleeve and his emotions are always close to the surface. Where Harvey is repressed Mike is an open book, and the mere prospect of losing Rachel functioned a lot like heartbreak. He was so afraid, so convinced that he'd be left alone again, he found himself almost unable to cope. Turning to Harvey for support, in one of the most affecting and fascinating scenes of the episode, was probably more fruitful for Harvey than it was for Mike, but it did underscore just how much Mike *wants* from Harvey, even if Harvey struggles to provide when it comes to the more personal side of their relationship.
Mike goes in, desperate for the kind of help that Harvey is incapable of giving and opens with the line, "I wanna know how you do it." "Do what?" Harvey replies. "Not let people in."
In a way it's a fair question, because Harvey is so cool, calm and collected it's not unreasonable for a person to assume that he's a tad unfeeling. It's just that at this point Mike should know better, and his initial approach here came across a lot like 'how did you become such a repressed freak who doesn't need loving relationships in his life?' which is bordering on cruel, if only because it's all too apt an observation. (It's also consistent with Mike's tendency to lash out when he's in pain which is another reason this scene wins forever). So Harvey's response, probably the most defensive we've ever seen him - defensive and hurt in Harvey's usual 'I'm smiling on the outside but I'm on the verge of throwing you out my window' brand of hurt - felt startlingly honest. It was only the severity of Mike's despair and desperation that cracked Harvey's walls (without quite breaking through them), allowing himself a guarded display of sympathy, before leaving Mike alone in his apartment to recover.
He's unable to show it but he's certainly not immune to Mike's suffering, and it is testament to the intensity of his love for Mike that Mike's pain has such a profound effect on Harvey. Mike unwittingly gave Harvey the push he needed to take a risk and let Scottie in. He saw in Mike a reflection of his own loneliness; a pain he keeps so deeply buried that the person closest to him (Mike) doesn't even realise it exists.
I just. I love him so much I can't even think straight and this was one of the best Harvey episodes we've ever had. I am still flailing. I have so much love and respect for Gabriel's performance - he understands Harvey inside out; he gets perfectly all the levels of Harvey's repression, that he's a control freak with such severe trust issues he's basically an emotional cripple, and Gabriel is putting in such a committed, understated, unsentimental performance, so when Harvey's emotions do burst through to the surface, on those rare, exciting occasions, it has a powerful impact. My favourite moment in the whole episode was when Scottie accused him of thinking she can't take the heat from Tanner, and he shouted back, "I can't take it". jfc writing this is making me well up all over again; it was such a surprise, hearing him admit in his own hopeless way, that he loves her too much to watch her go through that, and Scottie immediately understood the implications - and was so bowled over by Harvey's outburst - that she agreed without questioning to do it his way.
Another favourite moment was Harvey putting a hand on Mike's shoulder, and not just because any kind of physical contact between those two makes me horny - it was such a rare, tender display of pure Harvey affection, and even though Mike was wallowing in misery it helped him a little bit. B/c Mike mostly knows that Harvey loves him but sometimes he needs to be shown as much.
Harvey and Scottie oh my fuckign god.
Why do they get to me so much. He's been such a shit to her but she never takes it lying down, she fights back, she challenges him, and sometimes he's wonderful to her and they have the best sex ever and she loves him with all her heart, and oh god the way they LOOK at each other...*GROSS SOBBING* Darvey shippers are totally raging over this development (lolol) but like. Harvey has never once looked at Donna the way he looks at Scottie, all he's ever done is reject Donna. And as Mary pointed out 'Also I loled at Scottie being like "I refuse to work with you as a consolation instead of being with you." #TheAntiDonna' HA.
Point is, Harvey was full of remorse about his recent behaviour, doing his Harvey best to get her to forgive him, and then in the wake of Mike pointing out that being lonely really blows Harvey came to the realisation (FINALLY) that he doesn't actually want to be on his own forever, that he loves Scottie and wants more from her. And then he did something I never in a million years expected to see Harvey do: he opened himself up for the possibility of getting his heart broken, telling Scottie that he not only wants her to stay in New York and work with him, he wants her to be his girlfriend.
That gif is no joke by the way. That scene made me burst into tears and I didn't stop blubbering until well after the episode had finished.
To make matters worse, the scene was followed by Rachel tearing up her pros and cons list which had Stanford as the clear winner ("It's a better fit" and I have no doubt that 'getting the fuck away from my bf's criminal lifestyle' was somewhere on that list) and choosing to stay in NYC with Mike.
why you so perfect, show. WHYYYYYYY.
- Abigail's so pretty I want to kill myself. Also I love it when Scottie and Harvey make each other smile. That also makes me want to kill myself.
- Mike is so angry and demanding. "We're adults, we're together. At some point you're going to have to factor that in." Love how honest he is about his feelings. If that was Harvey he'd never admit to caring - he'd just let the love of his life leave him and cry his eyes out on the inside.
- TANNER YOU GINORMOUS DOUCHE WILL YOU NEVER LEEEEEARN
- "we both know you tracked her down because of your life-long never gonna happen dream to beat me". hahahaha ♥
- Harvey clocks that Mike has girlfriend troubles, is amused by this, and then they banter hilariously, Mike calls Harvey "Captain Pinstripe", and Harvey eats an apple.
Mike: People actually do have girlfriends after high school, which you wouldn't know because emotionally you never graduated.
Harvey: Well I guess you're the expert because the only thing you graduated from is high school. *walks off eating his apple*
Mike: Why you gotta go there man.
- d'awww it's genuinely cute how much Sheila likes Louis. She is great.
- "You choose to go to Stanford, most likely means we're done." his faaaace. even though I know this all works out for the best, it really hurts seeing Mike so vulnerable and scared. *cuddles him to death*
- Mike: What I know is that you seem to have relationships again and again and they don't eat you up or spit you out or seem to affect you at all.
Harvey: I have a picture of Dorian Gray hanging in my closet.
Mike: It's not funny.
Harvey: I wasn't joking. I was trying to get you to leave so I can have my morning without you judging me.
Harvey: Look Mike, you wanna know how to be a lawyer, I'm your man. You wanna know how to deal with love...that's not my area.
- oh fuck and then Harvey offers Mike coffee and bagels and leaves him in the apartment, which is...I don't even know how to handle all the possibilities, but the most important thing is that Mike has now been invited to make himself at home in Harvey's home and there are like literally no boundaries left between these two. Now, I can't really imagine that Mike poured himself a coffee and toasted himself a bagel (do people really keep bagels in the fridge? that's just dumb. you shouldn't refrigerate bread - it dries it out. what you SHOULD do to preserve their freshness is slice your bagels and freeze them, then toast them from frozen. DELISSIMO.) but I can imagine him finding Harvey's bedroom and curling up for a little while. I feel like the scent of Harvey on the sheets and pillows would be very comforting for Mike given the fragile state he's in. Or of course there's Mel's idea that he went snooping, which is by far the most realistic prospect and definitely happened.
- Mike and Louis together are hilarious.
- Tanner: I just came to bring you a coffee in the morning.
Scottie: After meeting you I'd say there's an eighty percent chance there's a roofie in there.
LOL BURRRN. I love her.
- Donna: I'm not just protecting Scottie, I'm protecting Harvey. Because he may not know how he feels, but I do.
Donna is a hardcore Harvey/Scottie shipper and it fills my heart with joy.
- lol Stephen Huntley is a fucking moron.
- "You told Robert Zane's daughter my business." I love that. Because it so completely misrepresents the situation but of course it's exactly how Jessica would see things.
- Harvey: I can't stand to see them come after you.
Harvey: It's not bullshit.
Scottie: You think I can't take it!
Harvey: Look you're not listening to me okay. I can't take it!
Stick a fork in me, I am DONE. They love each other so much and and and *drowns in own tears*
- Mike ends up telling Rachel to go to Stanford because he can't stand that he put her in the position he's put her in. GOD THIS EPISODE IS SO EPIC AND ROMANTIC.
- I love that even though she's mad at him Ava still really likes Harvey and wants to believe in him.
Harvey: Tanner I hope you still have that quarter I gave you because I think it's time to call your mom.
Ava: *helpless smile* Harvey.
- THE SHOULDER TOUCH.
Mike: She tell you what she did?
Mike: I guess not.
Um, Mike is talking about Jessica but the real question is: why would Rachel tell Harvey 'what she did'? Harvey and Rachel don't talk to each other, and yet Harvey instantly assumes that Mike is asking whether Rachel has confided in him even though that would never happen. Harvey is so strongly connected to Mike that he's involved in Mike's relationship by proxy, to the point where he imagines a connection with Rachel that isn't (currently) there.
- The Harvard Rule is so stupid.
- Harvey cooked dinner for Scottie and goddddddamnnnn he looks beautiful in that white shirt.
- "Come to Pearson Specter."
- Now that Harvey and Scottie are an item, what does the future hold? I mean, I can't see it lasting, which saddens me because I ship them to OTP levels of shippingdom and I really don't want to suffer through a break up. But like...is Abigail Spencer joining the cast full time? Is she able to be a more permanent regular given her Rectify schedule? Ugh, happy as I am about this development I'm also nervous about where the show is going to take it. Just, please don't hurt me too badly with this one, show. I beg of you.
- HOLY CLIFFHANGER, BATMAN. I did know that Louis would eventually find out the secret but I hadn't given any thought as to HOW, but this is just brilliant. Because Louis really wasn't all that surprised - it was like every single doubt he's always had about Mike finally made sense. Of course at this stage all he's learned is that Mike never went to Harvard (something he has suspected in the past - and wasn't it adorable how he went straight for Mike's folder, because Louis is totes infatuated with that boy), but that's enough info for him to start doing some real digging and getting to the truth. It's just lucky for Mike that Louis cares so much about him, because shit's about to hit the fan. And I don't know how I'm going to stand the wait.