For six seasons, Mike’s secret loomed over Suits‘ head. The show finally tackled it head on in seasons 5 and 6, and now that Mike is a full-fledged lawyer, it’s time to see what the series looks like. I’ll admit, I was worried that Suits wouldn’t know what to do with itself, but the season premiere more than assuaged my fears. “Skin in the Game” is concerned with forging a new a path, pushing Harvey, Mike, and the rest of the gang forward to face new and interesting challenges as they try to figure out how milk their lives for as much meaning as possible.
The opening moments of the premiere make one thing clear: Harvey’s got his groove back. “Skin in the Game” begins with our favorite lawyer driving a cool old car (I know nothing about cars). He’s a man on a mission as he cruises, top down, the streets of Toronto New York. That mission? To ask out Dr. Paula Agard. Was I expecting the premiere to begin like this? Definitely not. It’s nice to to know that seven seasons in, Suits can still surprise me. Short story short: Harvey charms his former therapist into saying yes to a date by telling her she was the only person he could think of sharing his recent successes with.
Unfortunately, Harvey has to return to the real world. When he gets to the office, he finds Donna, who declared she wanted more at the end of season 6, waiting for him on the ground floor with one request: She wants to be made partner. Or, to put it in Harvey-speak, her life is like this (down by the floor), and she wants it to to be like this (closer to the ceiling). This is something Harvey is definitely not ready to discuss yet; he still hasn’t even informed Louis that he’s taking over as managing partner. Nevertheless, he gives her his word that he won’t forget about her request. (Note: That doesn’t mean he won’t try to avoid the topic for as long as possible.)
Mike’s morning gets off to rougher start: He begins the day by resigning from his job at the legal clinic, which goes as well as you’d expect. Wouldn’t you be pissed if some guy you took a chance on jumped ship the moment his old, higher-paying job came calling? I know I would be. Mike is convinced that this is the best move — he’ll have the resources of a big corporate firm to fight for the little guy since Harvey agreed to that one-for-you, one-for-me deal. Unfortunately for Mike, his first case back at Pearson Specter Litt is a corporate case, which is the last thing he wants.
This week’s client: Neil Stillman, a douchey businessman who is unsatisfied with PSL’s recent legal services. He threatens to fire the firm unless they help sell his vodka business quickly. It’s clear that something sketchy is going on, but it takes a while for the boys to catch up. That’s mostly because they’re more concerned with hiring models for a party they’re throwing to find the right buyers for the company. The ensuing party scene features some of the show’s best Harvey-Mike banter in quite some time, and it reminded me how much I missed seeing these two work together.
Meanwhile, back at the firm, everyone’s worried about Louis, who was just dumped. He says he’s fine because he’s decided to channel all of his energy into raising the associates. That goes as well you’d think. When one of them asks for a day off because his wife is having a C-section, Louis — reminded of what he just lost — flies off the handle like we’ve never seen him before, and then he insults a female associate who comes to her colleague’s defense. Rachel witnesses the whole thing, and it convinces her that something needs to be done before Louis brings down the firm with a lawsuit.
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Rachel turns to Donna for help, because Donna is the lawyer whisperer of the firm. But, for once, Donna’s superpowers fail. She suggests that Louis let Rachel handle the associates while he works through his pain, but that pisses him off even more. He tears Donna down by pointing out that she’s just a secretary and nothing more, which convinces her that she needs that promotion so she can officially get ish done in the office. Donna approaches Harvey with a $500,000 check to let him know that she’s serious about partnership — but, alas, Harvey still doesn’t give her what she wants.
The Donna-Louis situation really messes with Harvey’s head, which means his date with Dr. Agard goes rather poorly. He’s too lost in his thoughts to pay attention to anything she says, which is disappointing since Dr. Agard was very much looking forward to this date. She accurately points out that he clearly hasn’t changed that much if he struggling to do what needs to be done and take control of the firm, so the dinner ends with her saying she can’t see him as a patient anymore.
Louis summons Rachel to his office because he’s pissed about her going behind his back to Donna, who witnesses the outburst. Now, Donna is the one who realizes that something needs to be done before Louis brings a lawsuit on the firm. Harvey, recognizing that they do have a problem, relents and tells Donna she’s a partner.
Alas, as soon as one fire is put out, another one ignites: Mike realizes that they have to stop the vodka company sale from going through because Neil lied. It turns out he’s about to be sued for stealing another company’s recipe. Harvey decides to let the sale go through because Neil threatens to fire him if he doesn’t, which would tell the world that Harvey isn’t up to the task of being managing partner — a fear he has himself already. But Mike points out that Harvey needs to stop trying to be Jessica and start being himself, because Original Harvey would’ve told their client to screw off. Mike’s pep talk works, and Harvey gives their client two options: follow his plan to avoid a fraud lawsuit, or Harvey will drop him as a client and release a press release that heavily hints at the shady sale. It works.
This one victory gives Harvey the confidence to do what he needs to do, and he informs Louis that Donna’s being named a partner and that he’s taking over as managing partner. Surprisingly, Louis doesn’t put up a fight about that last part. In fact, Louis realizes that he’s definitely not okay and agrees to let Rachel handle the associates while he sorts himself out.
The hour ends with Mike moving into Harvey’s old office as Harvey moves into Jessica’s office.