Trying to avoid an in-firm power struggle leads everyone into one.

By Chancellor Agard
July 09, 2015 at 02:17 AM EDT
Credit: Shane Mahood/USA Network
S5 E3

“No Refills” is an interesting episode of Suits that’s mainly concerned with partnerships. Structured around mostly two-hander scenes, the episode explores what it takes to make a partnership work, specifically what are the responsibilities of each participating party. You can see the conclusions it reaches coming from a mile away, but that doesn’t stop this episode from being rather engrossing. Also, Jessica spends most of the episode having to put the many outmatched men in her life in their places, which is always a thrill to watch.

Arriving at the office at 7:30 a.m., Harvey finds Gretchen already working. And, by working I mean, arranging for Louis’ shirts to be triple starched at the dry cleaners in retaliation for what he did to Harvey. Harvey points out to not even bother because he only plays tricks on people he cares about. Gretchen hasn’t been here too long, but there’s already a mutual respect developing as she admits to not having looked at how much she makes because she thinks anyone who does deserves to be fired.

Eventually, Jessica marches into Harvey’s office and instructs him to apologize to Jack Soloft because he’s a threat and she’s in no mood for a powerful struggle… Um, two things: First, Jessica, I love, but do you watch this show? All Suits is are power struggles. And second, when has you instructing Harvey to apologize to someone ever worked out well?

Everyone—read: Rachel and Jessica—is worried about Mike’s partnership with Robert Zane. Rachel’s scared Mike and her father will end up hating each other, whereas Jessica is worried about letting her firm’s biggest competitor get this close. At this point, however, Jessica has no choice but to accept the deal for fear of looking weak. So, she heads into the conference room to meet Robert, who has made himself quite at home (see picture), for the “power discussion.” (Yes, one of them actually calls it that, but I’m too embarrassed for the character to say who it is). Skipping passed banter, Jessica tells Robert that for the duration of the case he’s to treat Mike like a partner. (jokes!)

Jessica: You look at him, you see me.

Robert: You’re asking for a hell of lot.

Jessica: Now take your wing tips off my table and walk them out the door, because this is my case, and you either do it my way or you don’t do it at all. (Walks out of the room)

Robert [under his breath as she walks out]: I love you.

And roll opening credits!

Donna may have had Louis’ back when Harvey showed up at her place in last week’s episode, but that doesn’t mean things are okay between the newly formed dynamic duo. She’s upset that Louis put her in a position where she had to lie to Harvey. Louis tries to make it up to her with a music box with a twirling ballerina inside, but ballet can’t fix bullet holes—which says a lot because ballet is one of their shared passions. Louis promises to never do anything like this again then heads off to find Jack—who is in the kitchen making himself a cappuccino—to tell him he’s out of the war. But, Jack doesn’t care because the war’s done and he won. Dude, why would you say that? Your cockiness is guaranteeing that the war is not over.

And, a few scenes later, the war is renewed. Based on intel Gretchen gathered, Harvey decides to arrange a round of golf between Jack and Charles Barkley because Gretchen says he’s a big Barkley fan. Well, it turns out he lied, and when Harvey presents him with the invitation, he literally throws it back in his face. According to Jack, the bad blood between them is Harvey’s fault because he’s never treated Jack like a peer, only as competition. Harvey rushes to Mike’s office to enlist him. Unfortunately, Mike has the whole Robert-thing going on and is unavailable, which pisses Harvey off because (a) he clearly never learned to share, and (b) he’s clearly worried that Mike will leave him like Donna.

However, Harvey shouldn’t be too worried about losing Mike because he and Zane definitely won’t work out. The first clue? Robert calling Mike’s pop culture references “teenage nonsense” and declaring that he doesn’t “do that shit.” From the outset, Mike is forced to keep having to prove himself to Robert, who clearly doesn’t respect him and does exactly what Jessica told him not to by treating him like an associate and not a partner. During a meeting with the insurance company, the opposing lawyer threatens to bury their case in paperwork, but Robert says that’s no problem because a hedge fund is backing their case. This is news to both the insurance company and Mike.

NEXT: Everybody Hates Harvey

Meanwhile, Jack pays Jessica a visit in her office to complain about Harvey stealing one of his top clients. He warns Jessica that she better put her dog on a leash. Like a good neighbor partner, Jessica is there for Harvey and has his back. “When you went after Harvey, you went after me, which is why I’m the one who sent him after you in the first place.” Resigning herself to the fate given to her by the show, Jessica accepts that war is coming and tells Jack to stop pulling “shady shit” and to attack her directly.

Because he’s the Big Bad, Jack returns to his shady ways and runs to Louis’ office. Threatening to snitch on Louis, Jack demands that Louis do some “underhanded shit” and use his encyclopedic knowledge of the firm’s bylaws to find a way to eliminate contingency payment entirely.

The next morning, Donna returns Louis’ gift because she overheard his conversation with Jack and is certain he’ll break his promise to her. She tells Louis about Harvey’s late-night visit where she was forced to lose her integrity to save Louis. For Louis, this confirms that Harvey is actually trying to take her back, and he tells her about Harvey threatening to take away the one thing he values most: her. It’s the kind of open dialogue you wish Donna and Harvey had more often. Donna assures him she won’t leave him and then heads off to confront Harvey. “I’m not a prize to be used to get revenge on Louis,” she says. “What makes you think if I were ever to leave Louis that I would ever, ever come back to you.”

Unfortunately for Harvey, people aren’t done ripping into him as Jessica summons him to her office. Even though she covered for him with Jack, she’s not pleased that Harvey did exactly what she told him not to do and started a war with him. Voices slowly start to be raised as Harvey accuses her of bringing Robert into firm business without consulting him because she wants to get rid of Mike. Jessica is not having it with Harvey’s ridiculous paranoia and points out what we’ve all known: Harvey’s still not over losing Donna. Cue a panic attack. Harvey barely makes it back to his office, where Mike is waiting to ask for his help on his case with Robert. Believing he’s suddenly part of a House cold open, Mike offers to call 911. But, Harvey stops him and, with no other options, admits it’s a panic attack. With perfect timing, Jack shows up to tell Harvey about his proposal.

As Mike heads off to plan a counterattack, Harvey interrupts his therapist’s dinner looking for more pills. At first she resists, but then 10 minutes later, we find them in her office for a session. To help him deal with all his feelz, she asks him to pretend she’s Donna and to yell everything he’s been holding inside. But, Harvey is not into role play and demands she just give him more pills. Fed up with Harvey’s nonsense, his therapist unleashes some super accurate real talk.

Therapist: Well, I may not be Donna, but I’m beginning to see what it’s like to be her… I’m talking about, I’m a woman who you’ve been bullying to get what you want.

Harvey: Bullying? I’m paying you.

Therapist: And that doesn’t mean I exist to serve your needs.

Harvey: Well it goddamn well should.

Therapist: If you spoke to Donna that way, no wonder she left you. Because you don’t just pay people to be loyal.

Harvey: How dare you? I don’t give a shit about the money and I never did…

And cue breakthrough: Harvey imagines himself talking to Donna.

The next day, Mike arrives late to court, where he and Robert are supposed to fight the insurance company’s motion to dismiss with a motion for an expedited trial. Both opposing counsel and the judge think this is stalling tactic and the latter even questions how much ZaneRoss care about the plaintiffs. Using his superpowers, Mike reveals that he’s memorized the cases of each person, which moves the judge to grant them their motion and earns him Robert’s respect. But, Mike doesn’t need it because he has Harvey, who actually treats him like a partner. Nonetheless, he accepts the free lunch.

Back at the office, Harvey shares a touching moment of mutual understanding with Gretchen, who admits that she too used to suffer from panic attacks, but assures him that it will get better. Mike shows up, and the dynamic duo, slipping back into their pop culture filled reparté, they discuss Jack backing down from his proposal as they decide to go grab a bite to eat. Before leaving the office, Harvey pays Louis and warns him to never side with Jack again.


  • Based on the bulk of this episode, it seems as though Suits’ platonic ideal of a partnership is one where there’s equality, support, respect, and one party’s actions never forces another to compromise their integrity. This is clear from Harvey’s relationship with Jessica in this episode and Donna’s relationship with Louis. In recent episodes, Harvey and Louis have acted with little regard to how their actions will affect those with whom they are closest to. And, because of that, Donna and Jessica are left vulnerable several times and are forced to compromise to protect themselves and the two men. The importance of respect and equality is most clearly driven home by Mike and Ross’ rocky team-up on the case. And, by the end of “No Refills,” Suits seems content, for now, with saying that Mike and Harvey’s is the perfect relationship.
  • While all of this is going on, Jessica somehow finds time to start developing a relationship with Rachel, who she wants to take under her wing because Rachel reminds her of herself when she was younger. Juxtaposed against the stuff involving the men, this development also makes it seem as though Suits is making a strong case for the importance of friendships between women. Rachel goes above and beyond to help Jessica with a speech she’s supposed to give, and it’s a powerful moment because you can’t really imagine Harvey doing that for anyone.
  • “You ever try to go toe-to-toe with that guy over all you can eat shrimp?” —Mike on his lunch with Robert
  • Is anyone else worried that we’re heading for a huge Mike-Rachel fight? Disagreements that have come up in the past few episodes have been resolved way too easily.
  • Charles Barkley cameoed in tonight’s episode and delivered an unusually stiff performance for someone who, from what I can barely recall, seemed like a pretty animated guy when he hosted Saturday Night Live.

Episode Recaps


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