Suits recap: Compensation
Jack Soloff, an ambitious senior partner at Pearson Specter Litt, comes after Harvey's money.
Since the second or third season, Suits stopped being about the cases and started concerning itself with office politics. Which was a good thing because he case-of-the-week schtick on lawyer shows can quickly grow old. After last week’s Harvey-centric episode, Suits returned tonight with an episode that introduced what is ostensibly one of this season’s main office power struggle—Harvey vs. an ambitious senior partner—and brought Mike back into the spotlight after being on the fringe of the premiere.
Tonight’s episode opens in a New York restaurant, that’s clearly fancy because there’s jazz music playing, where Robert and Rachel Zane are having dinner together. Once Robert has finished complaining about there not being any chicken nuggets at this restaurant—classic Robert Zane—he gets right down to business and presents Rachel with a pre-nup for Mike. Naturally, Rachel objects, but agrees to look it over. Meanwhile, Mike is at a bar with his boys—Jimmy and Harold, the latter who is crushing on Rachel so hard that he checks Rachel’s FB 10 times a day—about his engagement. The news shakes Harold so much that he just needs a Mai-Tai.
The next day at work, we meet Jack Soloff, the senior partner who has it out for Harvey (played by the BIG BAD from Alphas, John Pyper-Ferguson). (Sidebar: Still not over Alphas‘ cancelation.) Louis finds Jack waiting for him outside of his office with a proposal to change the firm’s compensation formula. The specifics aren’t really important; all that matters is that Jack’s proposal would screw over Harvey. Louis catches on really quickly and tells Jack to bring it up at the partner meeting tomorrow. Little does Jack know, Louis plans on shutting him down to show Harvey, who he knows is jealous, that he has his back. Donna warns him this is a mistake, but Louis doesn’t listen.
Speaking of Harvey, he has a big day ahead of him. Not only is he interviewing new applicants, but he also has to deal with a client and friend who wants to sell his lucrative sneaker company to Adidas for less than it’s worth. First, the secretaries. Most of the applicants are young, pretty and likely very qualified, and that’s what worries Harvey because he doesn’t want another Donna-situation. So, he hires Gretchen Bodinski (Aloma Wright), an older black woman who we know right off the bat won’t tolerate Harvey’s b.s. and is exactly what he’ll end up needing. Also, she knows exactly why Harvey hired her and is fine with it.
Jimmy from the night before stops by Pearson Specter Litt to give Mike an engagement present. And by present, he means a case involving an insurance company screwing over poor clients that he knows Mike’s do-gooder heart won’t be able to resist. He’s right and Mike accepts it knowing full well that Jessica will not allow him to take the case. Can we talk about how if this were Game of Thrones, Mike would be killed off by now because he’s too nice and compassionate? Anyway, the specifics of this aren’t important either because it ultimately turns into a plot device that will be used later in the episode.
Time for the partner meeting! And, it goes about as well as you thought it would… meaning terribly. Jack brings up his proposal, Harvey, who was getting ready to leave because he was so over the Louis-led meeting, objects. Eventually, Louis puts Jack in his place, but Harvey says he doesn’t need Louis on his side and leaves because he’s got “shit to do.” Skipping over Mike’s meeting with one of the plaintiffs, we then arrive in the bathroom, where Louis and Harvey break into an argument, which leads to Harvey, out of jealousy, revealing to Louis that he’s been personally paying Donna’s salary since they’ve been at the firm.
Because “you can’t put a price tag on a woman like that,” Louis confidently agrees to start paying Donna’s salary… until Jessica tells him how much she’s being paid, which elicits a “Holy Goddamn shit!” from Louis. Jessica gives him three options: pay the salary (Louis says no because he’s cheap), tell Donna he can’t pay her what she was making before (he says no because he’s scared), or to send Donna back to Harvey (again, no). Unfortunately, Louis digs himself into a bigger hole when Donna misinterprets his attempts at discussing her salary as his way of offering her a 2 percent raise, and, because he’s Louis, he’s too scared to clear things up.
(Sidebar: After last week’s Hannibal, seeing Gina Torres as Jessica “The Definition of Fierce” Pearson was necessary for my emotional health.)
Mike finds the pre-nup, and after a calm chat with Rachel about it, decides to meet with Robert to show him the kind of man he is: the kind that wouldn’t come after Robert’s Rachel’s money. Mike uses his case to do just that. And, Robert respects that and the fact that Mike, like him, started from the bottom. However, he’s still worried that Mike, having worked with and learned Harvey and Jessica, will one day create an enemy who will come after Mike for everything. Basically, Robert’s just looking out for his lil’ girl and that moves Mike to sign the document.
NEXT: Mike moonlights as a chicken nugget deliveryman
Meanwhile, Louis presents his plan to pay Donna to Harvey and Jessica; he wants to implement a modified version of Jack’s plan, and, natch, Harvey blows up again. Cue more yelling and manly posturing, which Jessica quickly puts an end to by threatening to “slap the taste out of” Louis’ mouth. It’s here that I realized it’s impossible to watch this show and not *clap emoji* anytime Gina Torres is on screen. Harvey receives the same threat too when he denies that he’s taking out his Donna-anger on Louis.
However, Jessica isn’t done putting people in their place. She heads to the library and commands Mike to drop his case because she will not allow him to waste the firm’s money on a case that won’t make any back. Not easily defeated, Mike decides to seek out other forms of investment and pays his investment banker friend Jonathan—you know, the one who fired him—for money. But, Jonathan gleefully rejects Mike and promises to blacklist him with every other investment banker in the city. As if Mike didn’t feel bad enough already, Jimmy reveals that his uncle is one of the plaintiffs when Mike tells him he can’t take the case.
Do you remember in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Ultron says “Every man creates the thing they dread”? Well, that applies to Harvey tonight (and every season of Suits where this story happens), because Louis’ first stop after the meeting in Jessica’s office is Jack’s office, where he agrees to support the proposal. There’s one problem, how will they get the votes they need? Louis plans on “accidentally” revealing how much Harvey makes to the rest of the firm by leaving his past three income statements in a copier. Naturally, Donna finds out, confronts him, tells him not to do this, but Louis doesn’t listen.
After a touching meeting with his client to make him more money, Harvey admits to himself and Louis that he was jealous and apologizes for the way he’s been acting. They hug it out, but their hug is interrupted when Louis remembers what he did and runs off to fix it. Surprise, he’s too late and Harvey’s income statement has already made the rounds. Let’s just say Harvey’s making a lot of money, enough to make everyone in the firm pissed off enough to vote against him.
Louis refuses to admit that he leaked Harvey’s information because that could get him fired, so Harvey’s last resort is Donna, who he knows knew about Louis’ plan. But, she doesn’t give up her new boss because of loyalty, a trait Harvey used to admire. He angrily admits to paying her salary, which Donna notes clearly reveals his jealousy because of his terrible timing.
That night, Mike pays Robert a visit at home, with chicken nuggets in hand. He’s there to let Robert know that Rachel, based on Jessica’s advice, didn’t sign the pre-nup. More importantly, Mike asks Robert to take on his case because he can’t. Robert proposes they work it together. I have a feeling neither Jessica nor Harvey will be happy about this; they don’t like sharing.
The next day, the vote happens and it doesn’t go Harvey’s way. But, Harvey’s okay with that because it was never about the money for him. Now he has a new purpose in life: to take away the thing Louis cherishes the most, Donna. Which establishes some nice parallels between the Harvey/Donna/Louis and Mike/Rachel/Robert situations as both feature cases where the men are making decisions regardless of what the women stuck in the middle wants.
- Does Harvey really think being vindictive is the best way to lure Donna back?
- She’s only been around for one episode, but I’m already a big fan of Gretchen. Because Mike is off chasing his do-gooder case most of the episode, it’s up to her to uncover the information Harvey needs to win. Also, she knows that the best legal assistants listen in on all their bosses’ conversations.
- I miss Harvey’s therapist.
- Are we meant to assume that Harvey just had another panic attack when Louis confronts him in the bathroom?
- We’ve seen this sort of story play out between Louis and Harvey before, and we know they’ll figure out a way to save Louis from being fired. That being said, it doesn’t feel redundant because of the shifted status quo that finds Donna on the opposing side.