Marissa Tandon ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Pearson Specter has undergone internal struggles and tension, changing power structures, and personal attacks for the past few seasons. It was almost to the point of being too dramatic, and some viewers felt that the heavy drama in plot was causing character development to suffer. Many did not believe that the firm or characters could survive another season of strife, and the writers seem to agree. After quickly putting out the fires that were threatening to engulf the firm with Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) concerning Mike Ross’ (Patrick J. Adams) secret last episode, “Moot Point” opens on a firm that almost feels foreign with the air of happiness surrounding most of the characters.
This episode arc seems to be highlighting a set of questions that has always been an underlying part of the show: can these characters who are so focused on success also maintain real relationships? And which is more important, business or pleasure? Instead of focusing on heavy plot dramatics, this season is focusing on answering those questions for each character, building the audience’s understanding of each on a more personal level.
This episode shed some light on what will surely continue to be an issue in Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) and Dana Scott’s (Abigail Spencer) relationship. Scottie has officially returned to the firm and has decided to pick a fight with Louis in ordered establish her position in the firm outside of her relationship with Harvey. However, she still utilizes her relationship in order to gain the upper hand in the fight, sending an email from Harvey’s account to keep Louis from sleeping the night before a meeting with the client she poached at the partner’s meeting. The move effectively pokes holes in her own logic: Scottie doesn’t fight fair, which is nothing new, but for all her posturing about keeping her relationship separate from her career, she isn’t against utilizing it to win a fight.
In the battle, viewers are reminded that the firm is all Louis has. However, it is suggested that this may be of his own doing. Louis is at points almost endearingly socially inept, but it is clear that part of him longs for connections on a level deeper than strictly professional. He has always craved friendship with Harvey, something that he was officially granted in the heat of the previous episode, and is highlighted when he makes a Godfather reference as he was “looking for some common ground for [their] friendship.” Yet in the end, Louis’ career is first and foremost to him. When Scottie gains an upper hand that Louis can’t beat, he calls in a return on the last favor Louis paid Harvey. Harvey asks whether he is asking for help as a friend or as a demand of repayment, stating that you can’t have it both ways, Louis admits to the latter. This seems to, in Harvey’s mind, close the door on their newfound friendship.
Yet maybe they were made to be friends as their priorities seem to be eerily similar. For both Harvey and Louis, work comes before personal relationships. When Scottie asks whether Harvey is asking her to give Louis his case back as her boyfriend or her name partner, she intones the same sentiment: you can’t have both. Harvey says name partner, effectively bringing the power lines in their professional relationship into their personal one. It’s now clear that they will not be able to keep business and pleasure separate, something they were able to do when they were just having sex. With that being the case, the ultimate tension in their relationship seems to be a product of the power imbalance and Scottie’s own insecurities about her position in the firm. As the episode closed on this interaction, it opened doubts as to whether Scottie will be able to handle a relationship that is no longer about competition on an even playing field, but a situation in which she works for her boyfriend.
When Mike and Harvey win a high profile case and are asked to an interview concerning it, Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) asks that he remove his name from the case entirely, afraid that the publicity will invite scrutiny they can not afford. Mike finally realizes that no matter how long they keep his secret and no matter how good he does at his job, he will not ever receive glory or promotions. He is stuck in the exact spot he will always be in, glory and acclaim always out of reach.
While the episode did bring viewers closer to each character, the set up of this season runs the risk of falling into the typical law show episodic format, a case per episode. What has been so intriguing about the show as a whole from the beginning was both its strong characters and the breaking of that format, fitting the events of each case into a larger plot line for the entire season. So far, the latter element has been lacking, though the characters are building to even stronger and developed ones.
Overall Episode Grade: B