Unity They Will Stand, Divided They May Fall
“I’m remembered fondly everywhere,” Donna Paulson (Sarah Rafferty) tells Pearson Hardman’s newly-hired ‘legally blonde’ attorney, Katrina Bennett (Amanda Schull), but in the same episode, “Zane vs. Zane,” it is fear of her father failing to think fondly of her that concerns the firm’s paralegal, Rachel Zane (Megan Markle).
Rachel, who became the central focus of the most recent episode of Suits, has made many prior mentions of her father as a wealthy high-profiled attorney, who would have preferred to have a son. However, the series interestingly brought into question Rachel’s assessment of the situation with the on-screen appearance of the previously unseen character of her father, Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce). As Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) says to Rachel of her father, “If that’s what you think about him, then, your relationship is worse than you think, and he cares about you more than you know.” Through realistically scripted scenes, the differing meanings and understandings of both father and daughter were intriguingly explored.
The exploration of the sort of miscommunication that occurs between parent and child are first shown in this episode with already-established ‘foodie’ Rachel excitedly ordering the pair lunch on her birthday, but her enthusiasm soon turns to discontentment as her father begins to discuss work. It becomes clear that Rachel, who has already been shown to have a complex about being a paralegal, believes that her father negatively judges her for not having become a lawyer. Angered by her belief that he thinks she is not good enough, Rachel asks her on-again/off-again love interest at the law firm, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) to put her on the Pearson Hardman case that is opposing a client of her father’s firm.
Harvey is skeptical of Mike’s motives in allowing Rachel to work as the paralegal on the case, and having seen the deference Mike shows Robert, Harvey suggests that Mike wants to be invited to the Zane’s Thanksgiving dinner more than he wants to win the case for their client, who is alleging that gender discrimination precluded her from promotion. However, later, Mike counter-accuses Harvey of making things personal by having Rachel be present at depositions in the hope of rattling Rachel’s father, as the opposing counsel.
The assertions and questions posed by Robert in the deposition cause Rachel to more deeply believe that he regards her as a failure in her chosen profession and Pearson Hardman’s client becomes scared enough about the prospect of trial that she is willing to take a low settlement offer. However, Robert removes the offer, insisting on going to trial to even the score with Harvey for putting Rachel on the case. Then, Mike discovers a provable pattern of gender discrimination, enabling Pearson Hardman to threaten a class action lawsuit, but Robert maneuvers to split the class action into forty-five separate cases, knowing that would cause struggles for the still recovering firm of Pearson Hardman. However, the ever-impressive Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), urged by Harvey, shows Robert a press release that will win public support for Pearson Hardman’s clients, and she reminds Robert that once the first case is won, the others will follow like dominos until Jessica will “…be the last one standing.” Brilliant line-delivery by Torres made this moment particularly enjoyable, but victory was fleeting. Following a touching scene between Rachel and Robert, during which the two come to an understanding about their mutual respect for each other, Robert informs Jessica and Harvey that he will remove himself from the case due to a conflict of interest, but he intends to pass the case to their arch-enemy, Daniel Hardman (David Costabile).
While the episode ended with the recommencement of the war with Hardman, feuds with Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) began to be put to rest. Within the episode, Louis and Katrina began a battle for respect, with each upping the stakes to startling levels. Eventually, Donna speaks to Louis, attempting to get him to commence a ceasefire. During the conversation, Louis reveals his feelings about Harvey and Donna’s unthawing chilled behavior towards him, even mentioning that he had always regarded his exchange of insults and pranks with Harvey as their way of showing each other respect. Donna seems at a loss, but in a soon following scene, Louis finds himself being arrested for entering a courtroom with a concealed pair of nail-scissors, which had obviously been planted in his pocket.
Initially, viewers may have suspected that this was some sort of extreme prank performed by Harvey, but it soon became clear that the occurrence was engineered by Katrina, who goes to see Louis in his jail cell. In a reflection of the gender discrimination theme of the episode, Katrina suggests that Louis thinks less of her because she is a woman, to which Louis asserts that he “worships women,” stating a list of females that can only cause the audience to further question his taste in the opposite sex. Louis and Katrina come to an understanding, calling a truce. In the final moments of the episode, in a move that reminds the audience never to doubt Donna, Louis walks into his office to find the walls covered in posters of his mug shot. Donna enters the office, making a joke about Louis being more appealing as a “bad boy” and signaling that Harvey has recommenced his pranks on Louis, who happily exclaims, “We’re back!”
The final noteworthy aspect of the episode came with the slight rejuvenation of the friendly relationship between Rachel and Mike, and thus, the old reliable team of Jessica, Harvey, Donna, Mike, Rachel, and Louis are, at least, partially reunited in preparation with what will hopefully be the final showdown with the enemy of Daniel Hardman.