Donna, Donna, Donna…Our favorite legal secretary-turned-COO made a HUGE move in the Darvey department in Suits‘ midseason finale — a decision that will definitely complicate her already complicated relationship with Harvey. But, before we can get to the scene that’s on everyone’s mind (i.e. the kiss), we must first dig into the rest of the episode, which sees the entire firm pairing off once again to handle business. “Donna” finds all of the show’s characters taking on very personal cases and examines how they react to the situations: Can they keep their cool? Will they look for the easy way out of dealing with these difficult cases?
We pick up with Harvey struggling to figure out which tie he’s going to wear today because his mind is elsewhere: He’s thinking about Malik coming after Donna. Paula picks up on Harvey’s internal struggle, but she’s not threatened by it because she admires how loyal he is to those he cares about. This is reason No. 7 why I love this relationship. Meanwhile, Rachel also catches her father lost in thought as he reflects on how he failed his sister when she came to him all those years ago about the bank CEO’s sexual harassment. The flashbacks are, for the most part, unnecessary, especially given how well Wendell Pierce physically portrays Robert’s guilty conscience. Thankfully, Rachel comes up with a way to get the CEO on the stand.
Everyone at the firm is ready for the trial run that will prepare Donna for Malik’s questioning, but it turns out they won’t have go to through with it because Louis found a solution: Any conversations Donna had with Harvey about the Clifford Danner case are privileged work product. Sure, it sounds good, but it’s the beginning of the episode, so we know it’s going to fail. Alas, Harvey agrees it’s a good idea and wants to pursue that avenue, too.
As always, both Harvey and Louis are letting their emotions cloud their judgment. It would be best to prepare for questioning in case this doesn’t work, but they’re more concerned about avoiding whatever feels they’ll catch as Louis interrogates Donna. In case you forgot, the last time they did this, Louis asked Donna if she loved Harvey, which was awkward for everyone. Mike takes his concerns about not doing mock trial to Harvey, but Harvey shuts him down.
However, Malik isn’t the only one coming after the firm. Alex discovers that Gould, of Bratton Gould (again, I don’t know her), is coming after Pfizer, his biggest client. You would think this violates the agreement Alex’s old firm signed, but Gould found a way around it by having one of his clients pursue a hostile takeover of Pfizer. Alex threatens to take him to court.
While we don’t see Alex argue in court, we do get to see Rachel and Robert and Mike and Harvey present their arguments in dueling court scenes. The judge ends up ruling in Rachel and Robert’s favor and says the bank must produce the CEO for depositions. Unfortunately, Mike and Harvey aren’t as lucky. It turns out Malik wasn’t even coming after them for Clifford Danner; he wants to question Donna about the Coastal Motors case from season 2. After the “last time on Suits” segment in last week’s episode, I had a feeling this twist was coming. So Donna takes the stand, and she’s forced to admit she shredded a document in that case. Malik also twists her words and calls her integrity into question by making it sound like she only got her new role at the firm by sleeping with Harvey.
The one thing going for Harvey and Mike is that they know Malik did something shady since the memo mentioned in that article isn’t real. Harvey and Mike decide to corner the journalist who wrote it and threaten to ruin his career if he doesn’t reveal his source, in my least favorite scene of the episode for obvious reasons. The journalist refuses to give up a name, but he does say that his source is someone who worked with Mike and Harvey and not someone who works for the client’s company. This case is even more personal than we thought. (Recap continues on the next page)
Worried about how her father will handle coming face to face with the predatory CEO, Rachel makes Robert promise to let her handle the deposition. Unfortunately, when Robert finally encounters the man who ruined his sister’s life, he loses it, especially once Predatory CEO starts making inappropriate comments about Rachel. Alas, Robert’s reaction is exactly what Predatory CEO wanted because Robert accidentally reveals that he’s only pursuing this case out of revenge. Oops!
Meanwhile, Mike and Harvey realize that Malik tricked them into being the ones who admitted the newspaper into evidence, which means whatever shady stuff he pulled is still admissible since he wasn’t the one who actually did it. Donna deduces that Holly Cromwell is the one who probably tipped him off about Coastal Motors, since knowing that kind of info is kind of what she does. So Donna approaches Holly about flipping to their side, but Holly, who admits to being the source, says she can’t help them, even after Donna apologizes for the way she treated her earlier in the season. Although Holly refuses to testify, the info she gives Donna will still help Mike and Harvey win the case.
When Donna returns to her offices, she finds Mike waiting there to talk about Darvey. Paula asked Mike for advice on a gift to get Harvey, and when Mike told Rachel about it, Rachel said she thinks Donna regrets never telling Harvey how he feels. So Mike takes it upon himself to tell Donna that the time is now because Harvey and Paula are getting serious. Honestly, matchmaker isn’t the worst look on Mike.
With everyone making new plans, it’s time for Team PSL to start winning. First up, we have Rachel and Robert, who convince the bank’s board that it’s in their best interest to accept their offer and fire the CEO, or else the next time he sexually harasses someone, they’ll be liable since they’ve bee notified about his past behavior. Rachel, who has been off in her own world most of this season, needed this win, and I’m glad she got it. Meanwhile, Alex emerges victorious in his battle with Gould, whom he records admitting that he orchestrated that takeover in order to break the agreement Bratton Gould signed to not go after any of PSL’s clients.
While Harvey and Mike are able to convince Malik to drop his case against their client by threatening to put him on the stand and question him about the shady ish he pulled with that news article, their victory is more bitter than sweet. In a final act of retaliation, Malik whipped up a motion to have Jessica Pearson disbarred, citing as cause her admission in Mike’s bar hearing last season, which officially makes him the worst. For some unexplained reason, Jessica is already in New York, and she pays Harvey a visit to tell him it’s time to remove her name from the firm. She’s accepted that she can’t practice law in New York because no one in Chicago will care. Harvey says he isn’t ready to do it, but Jessica tells him he is. It’s a beautiful scene that reminds me how much I miss having Jessica on the show full time.
Back at the firm, Louis, who went through a lot in this episode, apologizes to Donna for the mock trial nonsense and uses that as an opportunity to open up about the Sheila stuff, too. In short: He regrets not telling her how he felt. Naturally, something clicks in Donna’s head, and when Harvey shows up at her office to talk about Jessica, she plants one on him. “I’m sorry, Harvey. I just had to know,” says Donna, leaving Harvey speechless for once. (For Gabriel Macht’s thoughts on this scene, head here.) Look, I could go either way on the whole Darvey of it all, but I will say I liked that it was Donna who made the first move, because of course it would be her. (ASIDE: The whole situation reminded me of Booth’s speech to Bones in Bones’ 100th episode, except here it’s the non-gambler who took a huge chance on romance.)
Overall, the first half of Suits‘ seventh season has been an interesting if uneven one. Dulé Hill made a great addition to the season, which isn’t surprising because he’s so charismatic he could have chemistry with piece of cardboard if he had to. Furthermore, the show gave Wendell Pierce some great material this season that revealed more about Robert apart from the fact that, like everyone else on this show, he loves power and winning; there’s a soul in there, too. However, if there’s one thing I had problems with, it’s what has happened to Louis. I get that he’s hurting right now, but the show hasn’t done much with that pain. We keep hitting the same beats without any development, and what little development we do get makes Louis seem inexplicably off his rocker. (Has that phone call at the end of “Mudmare” been explained?) My hope for 7B is that the show remembers what made Louis such an interesting and sympathetic character, because right now it’s making it hard to root for him when he keeps lashing out at people.