Jessica and Rachel go to trial, and Louis takes his relationship with Tara to the next level
Wow. The Suits midseason finale was definitely a game changer. That’s clear from the episode’s title, “P.S.L.,” which refers to Pearson Specter Litt: The often ethically compromised but well-intentioned and aesthetically pleasing firm at the center of the show. In many ways, the episode (the best one of season 6 so far) serves as a eulogy for the firm, which comes to an end as we know it.
The emotional midseason finale focuses on the Leonard Bailey trial, giving the show an opportunity to do the Jessica-centric episode I’ve been begging for since I started recapping this series. Peppered throughout are flashbacks to Jessica’s youth, which tended to be rather on the nose with their purpose but still worked because it’s freaking Jessica Pearson! We learn her mother divorced her father because she was tired of coming in second to his all-consuming work as a doctor. We’re then shown Young Jessica, a.k.a. Little J, telling her father she plans to attend Harvard Law School instead of becoming a doctor like they always planned.
“Doctors save lives and lawyers are nothing more than power-hungry bottom feeders,” says Allen Pearson, who clearly has nothing but contempt for his daughter’s career choice.
It’s pretty clear why these memories are on Jessica’s mind as she’s about to head into Leonard Bailey’s retrial. Over the course of this case, she’s been forced to wonder if she is indeed a power-hungry bottom feeder who doesn’t care about people. After all, her own client raised that possibility! This case is her chance to prove to herself that’s not true, to prove she hasn’t forgotten why she wanted to be a lawyer in the first place: to help people.
However, Jessica’s commitment to Leonard’s trial is tested from the get-go when Robert Zane informs her and Harvey that Jim Reynolds, their oldest client, is currently thinking about jumping ship. If Jim leaves, the firm will lose all its other clients. Jessica knows she should handle this problem herself, but she can’t — she’s fighting for another man’s life. Gina Torres conveys perfectly Jessica’s internal conflict over the situation. So, she tells Harvey to handle it, which only makes matters worse.
Harvey pays Jim Reynolds a visit and finds out Jim’s board wants to dump PSL because of rumors Harvey tanked Sutter’s case on purpose. Obviously, no one wants an attorney who would do that. Jim could’ve been able to change the board’s mind if anyone other than Harvey had shown up to defend the firm — instead, Harvey’s presence just further antagonizes his opponents. I’m glad the show decided there would be consequences for Harvey’s actions.
Louis is a bit too distracted to help Harvey with Jim Reynolds because Tara comes to him with some big news: She’s pregnant with Joshua’s child. Louis is overjoyed about raising a child with her — even if it isn’t his — but Tara is incredulous and asks him to take a few days to think about it. We know how much Louis wants children (it’s what ended his relationship with Sheila) and his reaction definitely feels genuine.
Meanwhile, Rachel and Jessica decide to put Leonard on the stand to let him to tell his story. It’s a big moment for Rachel because Jessica allows her, a law student, to question him. After his emotional testimony, the prosecutor decides to call the victim’s father, Victor, to the stand to testify Leonard “ruined” his life by killing his daughter.
NEXT: It’s time to say goodbye
The best thing about having Mike out of jail is he’s there for Rachel to bounce ideas off and snuggle with, and it’s midway through said cuddling when Rachel has a game-changing epiphany. When Victor accosted her a few episodes back, he referred to Maria Gomez (Leonard’s alibi) as a junkie, which is something he couldn’t have known since it wasn’t presented at trial. This leads Mike and Rachel to figure out Victor made Maria disappear during the original trial by sending her to rehab.
Harvey puts a stop to Sutter spreading “rumors” about their attorney-client relationship gone bad. However, that’s not enough to stop Jim’s board from pursuing vote to get rid of Jim and leave PSL. The only way to convince them is if Jessica herself attends the next board meeting to fight for the firm. That’s not going to happen, though: Jessica’s due in court at the same time as the board vote, so it’s up to Harvey and Louis to handle it.
In court, Jessica calls Victor to the stand and uses made-up evidence to trick him into confessing he hid Maria Gomez. His confession is enough to convince the judge to free Leonard Bailey. It’s an amazing moment for Rachel and Jessica, who was proud of how she stuck with the case. After the trial, Robert — grateful for everything Jessica’s done for Rachel — suggests a merger. After all, PSL is likely done since Jessica missed the meeting. But Jessica turns him down because she refuses to go back to seeing her name last. This scene affirmed why I love Jessica and Robert’s relationship. Each scene between Gina Torres and Wendell Pierce conveys a long history of respect between these two characters.
That trial isn’t the only win for PSL. Harvey and Louis save the day by asking Stu to buy enough shares to become the most powerful member of the board, thereby thwarting a rogue board member’s attempts to oust Jim and the firm. It’s a banner day for our favorite lawyers.
Harvey and Louis return to the office ready to celebrate; however, Jessica puts a damper on things with a big announcement: She’s leaving the firm.
Yes, you read that right. Queen Jessica Pearson, the reason we’re all here, has decided it’s time for her to move on from Pearson Specter Litt. Her decision angers Louis — who accuses her of bailing when things are tough — but Donna interrupts his tantrum to put him in his place. She points out they failed Jessica. They promised to put their blood, sweat, and tears into saving Pearson Specter Litt, but Louis has been too busy trying to find love and Harvey was obsessed with getting Mike out of prison.
Jessica’s decision to leave isn’t surprising. The show has been building to this point all season, and this case definitely felt like the culmination of five-and-a-half seasons’ worth of character development. At some point, she lost herself in this constant struggle for the firm and is understandably exhausted. She’s leaving the firm for herself. I’ll miss Jessica, but this feels completely earned.
“For the first time in my life, I’m not sure about anything and it scares the sh-t out of me,” she says as the four of them raise a glass to toast the end of PSL.
The episode ends with a touching montage of each character embracing their uncertain future with relatively open arms: Jessica reunites with Jeff and asks to accompany him to Chicago; Louis proposes to Tara and she accepts; and Harvey and Donna hold hands as they stare at the NYC skyline contemplating what lies ahead.
(ASIDE: One of the great joys of this season has been discovering how much I liked the idea of Louis finding love. Suits has become rather empathetic and nicer to Louis as it’s gotten older, and that work has made it easy for me to feel nothing but pure joy when Tara says yes.)
I’ve been on the fence about this season so far, but this finale was a fine reminder of what I’ve always enjoyed about Suits. While I’m sad to see Gina Torres leave — she elevated the show with her regal presence time and time again — I’m also excited about watching Louis and Harvey handle the firm on their own. Let’s be honest, it’s not going to go well.