by Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice)
It took me two viewings to see tonight’s episode as a cohesive unit, but once I saw how it all fit together, I was impressed.
All things Donna:
This sordid affair with British Harvey makes zero sense to me in terms of actually moving any kind of story forward, but I have to say I love all of the banter that it brings. I particularly enjoyed the whole copy room (really, why does everything happen here???) discussion about Donna and British Harvey’s “arrangement.” The metaphor had the potential to be disgusting and awkward, but instead, it absolutely worked. And can I please have Donna’s wardrobe?
I love me some comedic relief, especially when it’s thrown in with a dash of snarky subtext, and ESPECIALLY when it’s delivered by Sarah Rafferty, so I’ll wait and see what this plot snippet brings.
Oh, and since this has to do with Donna, Harvey is once again the worst ever. She did not deserve the way that he took his anger out on her at the end of the episode. AT ALL.
Mike/Harvey vs Blonde chick/Louis:
Two cases, one client. Murder trial vs takeover. What’s best for the client in case one, vs what’s best for the client in case two. I really would’ve loved this whole dynamic if not for the fact that blonde chick got so much airtime out of it. I know I already said this last week, but I find it impossible to ignore the way that Amanda Schull sticks out like a sore thumb. Pedestrian acting from someone who is surrounded by masters of their craft will always do that. The opening scene, in particular, was completely ruined by blonde chick’s presence. There was so much great back and forth between Harvey and Louis, as well as between Mike and Louis, but then she just had to keep putting in her two cents. While we’re at it, I don’t even see the point of having blonde chick work so well with Mike. There should be a rivalry here, not blonde chick trying to buddy up to the smartest kid in the class. The “shit” scene would’ve been good with just about anybody else involved, but she couldn’t even get that right.
The murder case itself:
Wowwwwww!!! This is way premature, but if Michelle Fairley doesn’t get some sort of guest actress nod from some kind of critics for her run on Suits, I’m going to break things. She…wow. Have I mentioned wow? Both in the Hessington/Specter argument in the first half of the episode and the mock deposition in the second half, Fairley’s Hessington brought nothing but pure, raw emotion to the table. Not only am I terrified of her when she’s angry (that glare could kill a whole red wedding full of people), but after that deposition, I also just want to hug her and tell her everything is going to be all right. Ava Hessington is a woman fighting to hold onto something that she cares deeply about, and while she has made some terrible decisions in order to protect her company and the people it might affect, she is no murderer. Quite the opposite, actually. This is a character that we’re initially lead to believe is cold hearted and driven by money, only for her to utterly break down and reveal to us that she is anything but. I had no idea. I really thought that the initial impression that we were given of a ruthless Ava Hessington was the right characterization. Wonderful plot twist, wonderful character development, wonderful acting, WONDERFUL EVERYTHING.
All things Jessica Pearson:
I finally have what I’ve been waiting for: an excuse to write about how completely wonderful Gina Torres is. Seriously, someone send that woman a card from me, begging her to just never stop doing whatever it is that she does to make herself that good. Gina manages to command every scene that she’s in, even when she’s calmly sitting during a major dramatic moment. When Harvey and Louis argue at the beginning of the episode, Jessica just sits and observes. Before saying a single line, you can tell exactly when she makes her decision, as well as how closely she is paying attention to everything. It takes just the tiniest change in expression, and BOOM. You KNOW that Jessica knows what’s going on around her. You KNOW that she’s calculating her next move. You know everything without being told but shown. And shown convincingly. The way Torres plays Jessica’s barely controlled rage when Harvey throws the fact that she’s only a 49% partner in this merger with Darby in her face is absolutely one of the best split seconds television. You can quote me on that.
When Jessica flies out of the country to meet with Lord Varys/Edward Darby/whatever-his-name-is-Varys, we again see just the slightest facial expressions telling an entire story. Both times Darby/Varys walks away from Jessica, we get the impression that she is finally starting to realize that perhaps she made a bad decision in letting this guy have 51% of her company. Everything is done with subtlety and a command of the scene, even when it’s obvious that Jessica is getting defeated in this particular battle. That strong presence and utter command is something that Gina naturally brings to the table. I’ve seen it in so many of her roles that I shouldn’t be surprised by it anymore, but I can certainly continue to be impressed.
Of course, no mention of Jessica Pearson would be complete without outlining her slowly, but surely, evolving war with Harvey Specter. When Harvey comes to Jessica at the end of the episode, looking for a fight about his innocent client being replaced in her oil company, we again have Gina Torres completely owning a scene whilst sitting down. Jessica raises her voice just enough to get her point across but absolutely never loses her cool, and that little point down at the desk when she says she stands by what she did just adds something to the scene that can’t be put into words. Torres and Macht are great scene partners, and each of their arguments tonight highlighted that during a season where, so far, we haven’t gotten nearly as much drama as I would’ve liked from these two.
And that last line of the night. Love. It. “Do me a favor, Edward, and turn off the lights on your way out.” Without seeing the episode and the way that Jessica utterly owned that moment, you probably can’t understand why that was a great line, but luckily, we’re all viewers here. Mic drop. Jessica Pearson OUT.
You can’t teach the way that Gina just embodies this character and makes her real, although I wish you could. It would certainly help the whole blonde chick situation.