Warning: Dulé Hill is not in tonight’s episode. Yes, that’s a major bummer, but thankfully, the show manages to make do without him. “Brooklyn Housing” is an episode that’s all about integrity, as it explores the degrees to which Mike, Harvey, and Louis succeed at keeping their word and what it means when they don’t. The characters are pretty isolated in tonight’s episode, so we’re going to break down the hour character by character.
Harvey Goes Headhunting
Harvey is on the hunt for a big new client, so he approaches Rick, the head of a renewable energy company, about representing him in a lawsuit against another corporation that stole his solar panel technology. Rick is skeptical, but he’s swayed when Harvey promises to stop his competitor from even going to market with this technology.
As I mentioned, this hour is all about how much is one person’s word is worth, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that Harvey initially fails in this endeavor. He confronts the rival CEO about stealing the tech, but that doesn’t scare off the competitor. In fact, he moves up their release schedule out of spite, which pisses Rick off even more.
Thus, Harvey is forced to turn to someone to whom he broke a promise: shady headhunter Holly Cromwell, who shows up early in the episode to ask Harvey for a job. At first, he turns her down because he doesn’t want to work with someone who crosses lines (**hypocrite alert**), but she calls him out on the fact that he broke his promise to keep what she did a secret. Now that he needs her expertise, Harvey says he’ll hire her if she can get some dirt on this rival energy company.
However, there’s one person who isn’t happy that Harvey is considering hiring Holly: PSL COO Donna, who actually has a say in who works for the company. Donna doesn’t trust Holly because of how quickly she flipped on an employer the last time they encountered her. Before drawing up her offer papers, Donna has a rather antagonistic meeting with Holly, who explains that she used to do her job with integrity and discretion until Harvey knocked that all down. This, and the fact that Holly delivers what Harvey needs to win his current case, changes Donna’s mind, and she offers her the job. Unfortunately, the meeting also convinces Holly that she doesn’t want a full-time job there. (Honestly, I don’t blame her).
While the show was definitely justified in exploring how Harvey fails to keep his word at times, I wish it could’ve done so in a way that didn’t involve returning to Holly, a character who, frankly, never leaves an impression. Every time the show brings her up, my first reaction is “I don’t know her,” and then I have to wait for the series to remind me who she is. Nevertheless, this Holly business does allow for an exploration of how this new power dynamic affects Harvey and Donna’s relationship since they clash over whether or not to hire her. Harvey eventually pulls the “I’m the boss” card, which goes about as well as it has the past few times he’s done it. However, once Holly turns down the job, everything cools down, which allows Donna and Harvey time to reflect on how they miss working through things together like this.
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Louis Has a Breakthrough
Last week’s episode saw Harvey and Louis mend some fences, and tonight, Harvey asks for Louis’ help with a personal problem. Paula’s old business partner Jacob is suing her, and Harvey recruits Louis to help her out. Before Louis accepts the job, he makes Harvey give him his word that their relationship didn’t start until after the waiting period ended. Actually, he’s surprisingly very insistent on this point. Harvey gives him his word, as he is wont to do, so Louis says yes and also promises not tell Donna.
Thankfully, this case ends up helping Louis on his self-improvement journey. As he works for Paula, Louis learns that Paula and Jacob were in a relationship until he cheated on her and left her. Jacob changed his mind and tried to get her back, but she said no. Now, he’s using this lawsuit as a form of retaliation because he’s brokenhearted. Louis refuses to believe at first, but he starts to identify with Jacob. Nevertheless, he does what he needs to squash this nuisance suit, and in the process, he recognizes something he’s been avoiding: His behavior caused Tara to leave, and he needs to work on himself before he’s ready for another relationship. Louis shares this breakthrough with Dr. Lipschitz, who is very proud of Louis.
Mike Continues to Break His Word
Like mentor, like mentee, right? While Harvey struggles to keep his word, Mike is actively breaking his by continuing to help Oliver out with this prison case. He thinks it’s a small but necessary act, but it actually ends up frustrating many people in his life. First, there’s Harvey, who needs Mike’s help multiple times in the hour, but Mike is nowhere to be found since he’s at the clinic working on some “Brooklyn housing” pro bono. (That’s the cover story he and Oliver clumsily came up with.)
Then there’s Rachel. Since Mike is juggling both his PSL work and this prison lawsuit, he’s out of the house at the crack of dawn and doesn’t get home until late at night. He misses dinner with Rachel multiple times, which worries her. She heads to the clinic at the end of the hour, but Mike’s not there. When he finally gets home that evening, she confronts him about his lies, and he comes clean about working the prison case. Rachel says he needs to figure his ish out because by the end of this, his word might not mean much. Honestly, I loved seeing Rachel call Mike out on his B.S. because what he’s doing is really stupid. He’s not only jeopardizing PSL’s business but his own job if he’s caught.
If there’s one person who is fine with Mike breaking his word, it’s Nathan, who realizes it’s a win-win for him either way. If Mike succeeds in pulling this off, then the clinic gets all the credit, and if he fails, then the case goes away and they just move on. Luckily, there’s some evidence to suggest Mike and Oliver might pull this off. Through their work, Mike comes very close to convincing his old prison friend Frank Gallo to be a witness in the suit — he was paid to start fights with inmates who were going to be released soon to stop them from getting out.