The British Are Coming!
The episode, “War,” picked up with the threat of a British invasion of our struggling New York law firm, and in some ways, the episode struggled more than the fictional firm.
The episode started with the oft-employed contrivance of starting a season finale with a segment of a mysterious conversation, followed by words written at the bottom of the screen to indicate that the storyline would now rewind back to the events leading up to that conversation.
In the tradition of Classical and Shakespearean tragedies, the drama and the comic relief occurred in a short period of time, in this case, a single week. That week sees Harvey (Gabriel Macht) scrambling to prevent his firm from merging with the London-based firm of Edward Darby (Conleth Hill). Desperation even leads the usually highly principled Harvey to readily commit ethical violations, but while he comes close to defeating the enemy beating at the door, upon which he so longs to see his name, he is out-maneuvered by his usual ally, Jessica (Gina Torres), who somewhat unexplainably turns the fight into a power struggle between Harvey and herself. Played as if Lady Macbeth were manipulating Hamlet, every point at which it seems Harvey is going to triumph, Jessica reminds him that he must learn to “be humble” and remember that he is in her “control.”
In the midst of the struggle between Jessica and Harvey, many matters mold the battleground. Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) finds a rival in his “British counterpart,” Nigel Nesbit (Adam Godley). Even Harvard graduates must yield to the superior esteem to which Oxford, or in regards to this English firm’s employees, Cambridge, is held, and Louis, feeling threatened, goes to Harvey, saying, “I’m scared.” Louis admits that he also does not want the merger, and he offers to help. Although Harvey graciously accepts Louis’s assistance, Jessica succeeds in blocking their joint efforts.
Meanwhile, the basically boring character of Scottie (Abigail Spencer), Harvey’s on and off casual sexual partner, goes for help to Donna (Sarah Rafferty), Harvey’s fiercely loyal and wise-beyond-her-years assistant. Scottie is upset that Harvey is unrelentingly angry with her for not having tipped-off him about the perspective merger, and she reveals that she wanted the merger because she wants to work with Harvey due to being in love with him. Although Donna had initially dismissed Scottie, saying, “I don’t like people who lie to Harvey,” when Donna understands that Scottie was not meaning to harm Harvey, Donna advises Scottie. Donna suggests that Scottie give Harvey what he needs to win, which will put Scottie’s job at risk but show Harvey that she is not entirely motivated by self-interest. Scottie gives crucial information to Mike (Patrick J. Adams), who she calls “Baby Harvey,” recommending that he not tell Harvey that she was the source of it, but Mike is unable to lie to Harvey. Harvey asserts that they cannot trust Scottie, so they should not use anything she gives them.
Then, Donna speaks to Harvey about several truths, including Scottie’s love for him, and Harvey is convinced to have Mike use the information given to them by Scottie. The scene between Harvey and Donna was probably the best and most enjoyable scene of the episode because of the consistently superior acting of the longtime off-camera friends, Macht and Rafferty. However, viewers may have been understandably torn between loving the existing non-romantic close relationship of Harvey and Donna and wishing the two characters would become romantically paired so that the series would stop wasting time linking Harvey too much less interesting female-characters.
Rachel (Megan Markle) is one female character that has continued to interest viewers, especially in regards to her ‘will they/won’t they’ relationship to Mike. This episode saw Rachel tell Mike about her rejection from Harvard Law School, and still believing that the rejection resulted from Louis’ failed romantic relationship with the Harvard interviewer, she asks Mike, as an alumni, to write to Harvard about the incident. Mike goes to Louis and learns that no one can write such a letter to Harvard because Louis lied to Rachel about the reason for her rejection to spare her feelings. Mike tells Louis that he now must tell the truth to Rachel.
Ultimately, Jessica orders Mike not to use the information from Scottie. Mike refuses, but Jessica blackmails him into obeying by threatening to have him put in prison for practicing law without a license. Thus, Harvey is defeated, and the merger goes ahead. Feeling betrayed by Mike, Harvey fires him, but Jessica undermines Harvey by reinstating Mike. Then, Jessica speaks cuttingly to Harvey, who she earlier chastised by asserting that he will always “…be a winner and not a leader.”
With a level of acceptance, Harvey goes to Edward to admit defeat and welcome him to the firm. Harvey sees Scottie, who has been fired for having passed him information, and they say their goodbyes. We should be so lucky as to never again be bored by Scottie, but Harvey arranges for Scottie to be reinstated. The last we see of Harvey, he is asked if he would rather Scottie work in New York or London.
The brotherly relationship of our leading men remains damaged at the end of the episode, and as a dejected Mike solitarily sorts through papers in the storage room, Rachel enters, locking the door behind her (three guesses as to where this is headed). Louis has told Rachel the truth, and she is angry with Mike for questionably related reasons. Finally, Mike reveals that he never went to Harvard. Rachel slaps him across the face, and then, the two kiss. The series ends with a sex scene that is unusually explicit for the USA Network.
Thus, we have been set up for the third season episodes, which are due to premiere in summer 2013. We loyal viewers will undoubtedly watch to see our still beloved characters, but we have to ask if the series is losing its previously unquestionable style.
The ‘English’ infusion seems uncomfortably crammed into the sleek characteristically New York-set series. This season’s penultimate episode referenced James Bond, and the season finale seemed to attempt English-style banter and borrow from the spy genre. Yet, if the series hopes to achieve this successfully in the future, it needs a crash course in marrying its style with the equivalently witty and sharp styles of “Yes, Minister,” “Blackadder,” and perhaps, the first season of “The Hour.” Instead, shocking the consciousness by the sublime mentioning the ridiculous, the season finale of “Suits” made multiple references to “Downton Abbey” (a.k.a. “Dumbed-down Abbey”). Perhaps, the only thing more discomforting than watching an English interpretation of American sensibilities is watching an American interpretation of English characteristics, and it seems simply unnecessary to compromise a hit series by messing with its winning formula. In regards to the future course of “Suits,” what would Harvey do?
Well, until this summer, we will now be asking, ‘What will Harvey do?’
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Mary Lee Costa experienced a transatlantic upbringing, being raised in both the United States and England, and she has been working as a writer since before she could pretend to spell (either American or English spellings). At age six, her first professional writing job was as a child film reviewer for the “Brooklyn Parent.”
While at the University of Oxford, where she gained an honors degree in history, her student newspaper theatre reviews placed second for the coveted Tynan Prize, as judged by theatre critics of the London broadsheets. Her historical writing has won The Duke of Marlborough’s Heritage Award, among other honors.
Being dyslexic herself, she especially enjoys writing historical and cultural articles for children or writing about theatre and quality television because she recalls the important role such outlets played in her own education and development.