Why does Suits have to end already? It’s clear that this is the best-written show on television, and in particular, it knows how to deliver endings with a legitimate bang. “War” is another solid closer that has us already waiting for season three.
Mike and Jessica are having a very tetchy conversation in her office. Anything that involves him saying “Harvey will never forgive me” isn’t good. But Jessica snaps back that Mike’s problem isn’t with Harvey – it’s with her.
Six nights earlier, the whole of Pearson Hardman is at one expensive party, along with the members of the British firm they’re about to merge with. While no one gets along with anyone else, Harvey approaches Mike and asks if he brought it, “it” being some damning paperwork which documents three lawsuits against one of the incoming firm’s clients. Our hero then hands it over to Edward Darby, the head of the other firm, and promptly exchanges fighting words with him. If Harvey can beat him in court, the merger is off. But if he loses, Jessica demands that he embrace the merger, extends his non-compete clause, and gets used to not having his name on the door.
The next morning, Harvey isn’t thrilled to see Dana Scott (guest star Abigail Spencer) waiting for him, and the two have it out on the street. “What’d I do that was so terrible?” she asks, and he reels off the list of previous people that’ve tried to attack Pearson Hardman before telling her, “If you want to get your name on the door, get it at your own goddamn firm.” Pwned.
Back at the office, Mike greets Rachel with coffee and finally hears from her that she didn’t get accepted into Harvard Law School. Rachel tells Mike what Louis let her believe about it being Louis’s fault, and Mike isn’t happy with that information. Speaking of Louis, he’s irate when he sees British lawyer Nigel apparently charming Donna. Both Nigel and Louis are assigned to compose an “efficiency list” for the upcoming merger, so the competition is on, beginning with a confrontation in the Pearson Hardman bathroom (because every great episode of Suits involves at least one scene in the bathroom).
Darby arrives for an unscheduled meeting with Harvey, and exchanges Downton Abbey references with Mike before being called “Benny Hill” by Mr. Specter. Darby gets the last laugh, though, telling Harvey that he’s about to freeze his clients’ assets. He thinks giving him a heads-up will allow for better competition. This further riles Harvey, who probably ought to check his blood pressure.
Rachel tells Mike that she plans to go over Sheila’s head to the higher-ups at Harvard, and wants him to sign a letter from himself to support her. Mike’s response is to go to Louis and tell him that he knows what happened. This forces Louis to tell Mike the real reason why Rachel didn’t get into Harvard. Mike tells Louis that either he has to come clean, or Mike himself will have to break the news.
Following that, Mike sits in on another tetchy meeting between Harvey and Darby, calling him out for violating international law by freezing their clients’ assets. Darby retorts that he did no such thing, and that by filing the action in response, they’ve opened their clients up to a charge of malicious litigation. He visits Jessica, who mentions that Darby is leaving New York to take meetings with other firms. Darby is worried that Jessica can’t control Harvey. “If I can’t beat him, he won’t respect me,” he tells her, and she responds that “You’re afraid you might lose.” When she uses the word we, things suddenly get a whole lot more tense.
That night, Louis visits Harvey in his office and tells him that he’s glad he did what he did, even if it’s resulted in Harvey taking a lot of heat from Jessica. He goes on to say that he’s afraid of being supplanted by Nigel and his colleagues. “I’m scared,” he admits. “Please tell me we’re going to win this thing.” When Harvey says they need to buy some time, Louis offers his help, using the access he’s now got because of his assignment to do the efficiency list.
Harvey promptly shows up at Mike’s apartment with new and damning confidential information that he tells his associate to use against Dana the next day. He’d rather cross his own moral line than lose.
But things don’t go according to plan. Mike’s shocked to see Jessica in the conference room, because Dana is in Harvey’s office. Both ladies are trying to convince the guys to give up. After Mike shows Jessica the confidential info, Jessica kicks Dana out of Harvey’s office and chews him out for cheating. The two finally have it out about their being on opposite sides of the competition. Jessica thinks the merger will take their firm to the next level, and says that Harvey’s going to learn that she can control him. No matter who wins, it’s obvious that their relationship has suffered some serious damage over these last few episodes.
Dana seeks out Donna in the file room, wanting to know why Donna doesn’t like her. “Are you in love with him, Donna?” she asks, and once again, Donna says no. Dana starts throwing herself a pity party, saying that she doesn’t know how to get Harvey’s attention unless she sues him. Our power assistant deduces that Dana is in love with Harvey, and says she’ll have to do something drastic. “If you want him to hear you, you’re going to have to make a sacrifice,” she continues.
The other woman deduces that ‘something’ means walking away from the merger and her chance at getting her name on the door. She then meets with Mike, handing him a file that will win the case for Harvey. Yet when Mike brings the file to Harvey, Harvey balks because he doesn’t trust Dana. Not that anyone can blame him. He deserves so much better, professionally and personally.
Hearing this, Donna confronts Harvey in his office and tells him that Dana is in love with him. She continues that he let Zoe go. “And I am so sick of watching you fight like hell for everything that happens in here and nothing that happens in here,” she snaps, referring to his empty personal life. After some arguing over the fact that Dana cheated on her fiance with Harvey and what that made him, Donna tells him that if he wants to stop the merger, he at least has to trust what Dana gave Mike.
Except for that Jessica is ordering Mike to get rid of that file, go home and not come back until it’s too late. That’s the confrontation that they were having at the beginning of the episode. To his credit, Mike doesn’t back down, even when she whips out a letter she intends to hand over to the District Attorney that would get him into a hell of a lot of trouble.
This leads to Harvey chewing out his associate in the men’s room, saying that “you got Edward Darby’s name on the door.” He accuses Mike of betraying him, and Mike points out that they’ve both committed ethical violations that up until recently would’ve made his stomach turn. Before Harvey can respond, Jessica cuts him off and kicks him out. Harvey tries to fire Mike, but Jessica tells him that’s not happening. A shocked Mike makes his exit just before Jessica tears into Harvey one more time. “This wasn’t about protecting me. This was about advancing you,” she tells him. He retorts that she’s afraid of him, and that just makes her smile. Her parting words are “Now you’re going to stay here, be humble, and learn your goddamn place.”
An unsettled Mike hides in the file room, while a numb Harvey finally makes the decision to go after Dana, but that proves to be just more bad news for him. She tells him that Darby found out what he gave Mike and she’s just been fired. Harvey informs Darby that he ought to give Dana her job back, and Darby asks Harvey if he’d prefer to have her in New York or London. The audience doesn’t get to hear Harvey’s answer.
Louis admits to Donna that he missed the deadline to come clean to Rachel. Rachel’s already upset about Mike not sending the letter she asked him for, and he finally snaps on her, saying that he’s lost enough. In order to get her to come down off the proverbial ledge, Mike reveals to Rachel that he never went to Harvard, and she slaps him – which is their cue to finally sleep together in the middle of the file room. Now let’s see if they don’t break up again next season.
While it may not be the most tension-filled finale in Suits history (the midseason finale was a little higher up that scale), “War” is a fine way to close out the sophomore season, as it both wraps up this chapter and leaves the audience wanting the next one. Like the current season of Justified, the second half of this season of Suits quietly shifted focus away from external antagonists, and on to the characters who were already on the playing field. The tension between Harvey and Jessica has been far more nail-biting to endure than the conflict between Jessica and Hardman, even as much as we loathed Hardman. Battles are far more tense when they’re among friends, because they’re that much more personal.
The lack of resolution in this episode proves that the once-mighty alliance between Harvey and Jessica is no more, and that’s going to be a really interesting part of season three on many levels. How long will they distrust each other? Will that distrust mean that Harvey – and by extension, Mike – will be on a much shorter leash than we’ve been used to seeing? We know that the characters aren’t going to go anywhere, but that doesn’t mean things won’t be dysfunctional at the new Pearson Darby (assuming that’s what it’s called).
And what will that new firm be like? While it would make sense for Darby and Dana to stay gone – no doubt he’ll need to go back to London, and she doesn’t contribute too much to the show, not to mention that the idea of lone wolf Harvey being tied down in a committed relationship holds little appeal – things could still be upended professionally as well. The writers have plenty of room now to jump time forward and introduce changes or even new characters brought over in the merger. It’s essentially a brand new ballgame, especially since audiences are aware that the Suits writers are unafraid to throw some sucker punches (see: Donna’s firing, Zoe’s departure, and most famously, Mike’s grandmother’s death).
Which brings us to Mike and Rachel. They finally seem to be together after all the roadblocks, and it will be interesting to see if they stay a couple, considering that with the reveal of his secret, Mike no longer has to worry about the chief reason he broke up with Rachel before – his inability to be honest with her. Audiences will no doubt be upset if they should bust up again, so one hopes they’re in it for the long haul this time. However, let’s also hope that the show doesn’t fall into the pattern of having someone finding out about Mike’s secret be a part of every cliffhanger. First Jessica at the end of season one, then Rachel at the end of season two…obviously he can’t keep hiding from everyone forever, but let’s not overuse that particular device.
Still, there’s a lot to love here, and a lot to spend our time arguing over and speculating about until Suits comes back in the summer. And that’s another reason this show is fantastic: because even though it’s over, it feels like things have only just begun.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse, Examiner and Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.