It's time to learn what Alex has been hiding — and why it's Harvey's fault
So, it’s finally time to learn what Alex Williams has been hiding from Harvey all season long. In classic Suits fashion, that means we have to take trip down memory lane via some sepia-toned flashbacks that set up everything and explain how Alex became involved with this shady private prison company. “Full Disclosure” is an information-heavy hour, but within it, there are some nice character moments, especially for Louis. (#TEAMLOUIS)
The flashbacks in tonight’s episode pick up shortly after the flashbacks in season 4’s “Fork in the Road,” which explained the origins of Harvey and Louis’ rift. In those flashbacks, we learned that Louis came to Harvey with a proposal: that they convince Daniel Hardman it would be better to make them both junior partners as opposed to hiring a new senior partner. However, Hardman played them both, and Louis betrayed Harvey and ended up being the only one who made junior partner.
When we meet Harvey in the past again here, he’s still pissed off, and he’s playing poker with Alex, who suggests they offer the same deal to Bratton. Harvey turns him down. The next day at work, Jessica — who’s warned Louis not to let this new position go to his head — forces Harvey to team up with Louis because Hardman wants them working together. Harvey is reluctant, but he does it anyway.
Naturally, Louis acts like an a–hole when Harvey makes a tiny suggestion. Harvey decides to cut Louis out of the case because he believes he can win it on his own, but Jessica finds out and kicks Harvey off the case right before the hearing is supposed to begin, which is super embarrassing. Harvey was already pissed at her for not having his back in the whole partnership thing, and this pushes him over the edge. He tells Alex he’s willing to jump ship only if he’s paid more than any other junior associate. Alex agrees to negotiate for Harvey, but he makes Harvey give his word that he’ll take the job if Bratton agrees, since he’s putting his butt on the line for him. (We know how this turned out)
Jessica scolds Louis for his terrible behavior and orders him to meet with Dr. Lipschitz to deal with that chip on his shoulder; either he makes an appointment or she fires him. Obviously, he makes the right decision, but his first meeting with the good doctor doesn’t start off well — Louis calls him a Nazi after hearing his accent. But eventually, Louis drops his guard and admits that he’s there because no one respects him. Forty minutes and the complete rundown of Louis’ list of enemies later, Dr. Lipschitz has a good handle of what’s up with Louis: He projects his inner feelings of disrespect onto other people. Dr. Lipschitz promises to be the one person Louis won’t push away, but Louis gets angry and storms out.
Meanwhile, Harvey pisses off both Donna and Jessica with his big move: He just assumes Donna will jump ship with him without consulting her, and he accuses Jessica — who, in case you forgot, picked him from the mailroom and paid for him to go to Harvard — of never having his back, which is a lie. Refusing to promote him based on a threat, she tells him to go ahead and take the job. Harvey gives his final notice.
Louis learns Harvey is leaving and realizes it’s all his fault, so he begs Jessica not to let him go because of his behavior. This come-to-Jesus moment convinces Jessica that Louis is ready to handle the associates. From there, Jessica goes to see Harvey and tells him she just did what she should’ve done before: She told Hardman she’s going to leave the firm if Harvey isn’t the next associate promoted. It’s kind of annoying that Harvey got his way after acting so rudely to everyone, but we knew it would happen. Unfortunately, this means he ends up breaking his word to Alex, which puts Alex in this terrible position. (Meanwhile, Donna breaks up with her longtime boyfriend because Harvey comes between them, and Louis apologizes to Dr. Lipschitz and they begin seeing each other regularly.)
(Recap continues on the next page)
In the wake of everything that happened in the last episode, Mike has decided to try to open up a criminal case against ReformCorp, the corrupt private prison company. While he promises Rachel he won’t lie to Harvey, he doesn’t plan on telling him about this plan unless asked directly — because, yeah, that’s definitely better. So Mike takes all the evidence he has to Anita Gibbs and frames the case as being about how several Fortune 500 companies are involved in a conspiracy. She says she needs proof of a conspiracy before she can do anything about it, so it’s off to work for Mike.
Harvey meets with the head of Masterson Construction, a company involved in this prison scheme. He hands Pat a check as an apology for one of their partners breaking their word, but it’s obviously Harvey’s attempt at paying them off to free Alex. Alas, Pat prefers to keep their interests aligned in case Mike tries to open the case again, so he turns down the check.
Frank reveals to Mike that he and the other inmates at his old prison where all of this shady business was going down used to build prisons for ReformCorp and Masterson Construction, which gives Mike a lead. He asks Benjamin to hack into ReformCorp for some information, something Benjamin isn’t comfortable doing — but he does it anyway.
When Rachel comes home that night, Mike has finally found their smoking gun: It turns out that Alex got a waiver from the state to allow ReformCorp and Masterson to supplement their workforce with inmates. But the inmates ended up being the entire workforce, which is illegal and means ReformCorp is defrauding the state. Mike plans on redacting Masterson Construction’s name from the documents and handing them over to Anita Gibbs. At this point, Mike only cares about doing what’s right and doesn’t care if Harvey fires him for it. While annoying, it’s good that Mike has achieved some kind of clarity.
Unfortunately, this plan falls apart once Harvey finds out about it. (Rachel, who told Mike she wouldn’t lie, revealed to Harvey what Mike was doing.) To stop Mike’s plan from working, Harvey signs ReformCorp as a client, which means anything Mike has is privileged and can’t be used. Mike confronts Harvey, who says he owes Alex for screwing him over all those years ago and threatens to fire Mike if he makes any moves on this case. Harvey also refuses to tell Mike exactly what ReformCorp and Masterson have on Alex because he doesn’t trust him, which is very, very fair. Don’t you just hate it when Batman and Robin fight?
Obviously, Donna wonders if helping Alex is worth losing Mike, but Harvey assures her it’s serious. As Harvey tells Donna what’s up, Alex, ignoring Harvey’s wishes, also fills in Mike on everything. Okay, prepare yourselves for an info dump:
After Harvey turned down Bratton’s offer all those years ago, Alex was in the doghouse at work. He kept being given loser cases — until one day Bratton came to him with a case that would help him get back in the firm’s good graces. All he had to do was acquire that aforementioned waiver for Masterson Construction. He did it, but then a guard leaked that an inmate died on a job site. Two weeks later, an inmate murdered that guard, and when Alex told his bosses about the collusion, Bratton dropped the bomb: They framed Alex for it, too. Every bonus he received since taking that case had been tied to a shady event to make it seem like he covered it all up. Alex had no other option but to go along with it because he couldn’t let his daughter grow up without a father.
The problem now is that Alex is even more screwed because he agreed to take full responsibility for the collusion in order to stop Bratton from coming after Pearson Specter’s clients. The question going into next week’s episode: What will Mike do with this information?