Marissa Tandon ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
With the second episode of Suits season 3B, the underlying tension that has been laced into the show from the beginning concerning Mike Ross’ (Patrick J. Adams) fraudulent background has spiked. Last week’s episode, “Buried Secrets,” closed on Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) coming very close to sniffing out Mike’s secret: he never went to Harvard. It seemed as though this was being set up to function as an overarching point of tension for this episode arc – the formula of Suits in previous seasons has been dependent on power struggles, both internal and external, to keep the law firm from falling into an episodic, case-by-case slump – but the issue was resolved within this episode.
The resolution felt almost too easy, albeit heartwarming. Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht); Mike; and his girlfriend, Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle), all try to appeal to the situation in their own way with their styles being indicative of the differences in their character. Mike and Rachel pair up and attempt to appeal to Louis’ heart. Mike shows up on Louis’ doorstep, giving audiences the first glance into Louis’ extravagantly decorated apartment: a stark contrast to Harvey’s minimalist penthouse. Mike “admits” that he snuck into Professor Gerard’s (Stephen Macht) office and changed his grade to the elusive A+, and when Louis shows no sign of mercy, Rachel delivers the second punch in their strategy: a tear-stained admission of love, exposing the relationship Mike and Rachel have been keeping separate from the firm.
Unfortunately, the tactic only makes things worse. Louis is, above all, a man of integrity with a love for the law. He gives Mike the opportunity to gain back some of his own honor by telling Professor Gerard about the grade change when he visits for a guest lecture at the firm. The task falls to Harvey, who at first falls to his natural inclination of intimidation and cockiness. He pays Professor Gerard a visit at his Harvard office. Watching the two actors interact was particularly interesting as the professor was played by Stephen Macht, Gabriel Macht’s father.
There’s no familial love in their interactions; Harvey keeps his swagger turned on high, while Gerard makes it clear that he is just as unimpressed by his former student as he was when they shared a classroom. The interaction is a small reminder that while Harvey is at the height of his success now, his past was never one of an overachiever. Harvey throws down the gauntlet – in this case, a nondescript manila envelope containing some sort of career ruining secret that the audience never becomes privy to – and demands that the professor cancel his trip to Pearson Specter. Gerard isn’t one to be intimidated and claims that his love of the law is more important than any sort of blemish on his career. This reaction is, perhaps, why Louis respects the professor so much.
In the end, Harvey has to appeal to Louis’ heart himself. He dangles friendship, something that Louis has sought for so much of the show’s lifetime. At the last minute, Louis covers for Mike, keeping him out of the lecture entirely. We watch as Louis bends his own moral compass, which he has held so close to heart since we met him in season one, for the good of Harvey, Mike, and Rachel, and not necessarily the firm. If Louis does learn Mike’s true secret, this series of events will surely make the blow even tougher.
While the episode did give a feel reminiscent of season one’s relationships and underlying stress, the Louis situation was almost wrapped up too neatly and quickly. The dynamic showed promise if played out over the full season 3B arc, but wrapped up this early, it almost feels too easy, a bullet dodged too quickly. The rest of the season’s tension will likely come from the addition of Dana Scott (Abigail Spencer), both to the firm and to Harvey’s life, or from something that has not yet been introduced.
Overall Episode Grade: B+