Where did “Suits” go wrong?

**Warning: this post contains spoilers for the most recent episode of “Suits,” 3.10 “Stay.” Proceed at your own risk.**

I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t very excited for the start of season 3 of “Suits.” Season 2 had ended with Mike telling Rachel his Big Secret, and with Harvey and Jessica at odds about the future of Pearson Hardman. There was also the dissolution of the main relationship on this show: that of Mike and Harvey.

But as the season 3 premiere date neared, I got more excited for the possibilities. Maybe Harvey and Mike would overcome their differences and strengthen their bond! Maybe the dream of Pearson Specter will become reality. Maybe Rachel will ship off to law school in California and we can have a season without her. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

There was also the promise of new guest stars: Conleth Hill as Jessica’s new partner, Edward Darby, and Michelle Fairley as Ava Hessington, a CEO of a big oil company and Pearson Darby’s newest client. With two “Game of Thrones” alums lined up to shake things up, it seemed we were in for a great season.

But as each episode aired, I grew more and more disappointed. While “Suits” does a great job of creating engaging characters and unique relationships, it seems to be failing on the storyline fronts lately. In fact, this show seemed to be trying to drag out as many storylines as possible for season 3:

Hessington Oil

Gone are the heady days of the one-client-per-episode we enjoyed in season 1. Instead, for ten grueling Tuesday nights, viewers were forced to endure the twists and turns of an increasingly convoluted Hessington Oil storyline. It was surprising that the writers expected us, the viewers, to cheer for a Big Oil company in the first place. But they put Michelle Fairley at the head of that company, and in the first episode, we rooted for her. She is a strong, determined woman in a field dominated by men, how could we not cheer for her?

But each episode brought a new “twist,” each more ridiculous than the last. Ava admitted to bribery, then she was accused of murder. After she was proven to be innocent of murder, she turned around and sued Harvey and Jessica for getting her into that situation at all, claiming that Harvey’s personal battles with other lawyers in the city had made her a target. She’s probably not wrong–Harvey likes to leave a path of destruction wherever he goes–but it was still a silly twist on a storyline that should’ve lasted three episodes, tops.

The most insulting part of the entire thing was how the story ended: after Pearson Darby Specter nearly imploded and Harvey almost ruined his relationship with Scotty, apparently all he needed to do was ask Ava nicely to take his and Jessica’s names off the lawsuit. That, apparently, was the end of the entire Hessington Oil fiasco of a storyline. We’ll see what happens in the winter.

Where Will Rachel Go To School?

It’s always something with Rachel, isn’t it? After the whole storyline about her pursuit of Harvard and her failing to get it, we started season 3 with her agonizing over other schools. It seemed like we heard about it in nearly every episode: how she was waiting, how those schools weren’t Harvard, how she wouldn’t be able to work at Pearson Specter if she didn’t graduate from Harvard… it was endless.

So when Louis gleefully told Rachel she’d gotten into Columbia, we thought that was the end of it. She’d go to school locally, stay on the show as Mike’s girlfriend, maybe stay on as a paralegal at Pearson Specter, and maybe we’d stop hearing the word “Harvard” every ten minutes.

But then she got into Stanford, which is really far away, you guys, it’s in California. And Mike couldn’t handle Rachel making her decision “in a vacuum” where he didn’t exist, because God forbid Rachel finally make a rational and objective decision for once. The summer finale consisted of Mike guilt-tripping her all over the place, using such arguments as “We are adults, in a relationship!” and going to Harvey, of all people, for advice!

Obligatory.

But it came as no surprise to anyone that Rachel, after leveraging an affidavit against Jessica in order to get her to waive her rule of hiring only from Harvard (crap! there’s that word again!), showed up at Mike’s apartment and said she chose Columbia so that she could stay with him. And the beat goes on.

Louis and the Cat

I love Louis. Louis and Donna were the MVPs this summer, because while everyone else was running around being the most awful versions of themselves, Louis and Donna were busy being awesome. But Louis and that cat…

Louis’ Darby counterpart and nemesis, Nigel Nesbitt, originally asked Louis to care for his cat Mikado. It was a sweet episode, especially given the passing of Louis’ beloved cat earlier in the series. But then Nigel returned from his trip, and Louis tried to keep the cat. I would never presume to keep someone else’s cat, no matter how attached I get to it, so the story really lost me there. Louis had some real feelings behind his attachment to Mikado (his whole speech to Rachel about how Mikado brought him a mouse was very touching) but it still doesn’t explain why he thought he had any right to someone else’s cat.

It resulted in a rather ridiculous mock trial between Nigel and Louis that somehow ended up with real stakes, and the fallout spread to unexpected places. Louis was able to gain control of the associates again in exchange for giving Mikado back to his rightful owner.

Then, inexplicably, the cat storyline resurfaced one episode later, when Louis and Nigel faced off in the Pearson Darby dissolution negotiations. Nigel got under Louis’ skin using the cat, resulting in Louis ruining the negotiations for the firm. (It did end in a classic moment with Harvey incredulously asking, “He tortured his cat?!”) The reason this cat storyline felt so cheap and drawn out is because Louis deserved a win, and he could’ve handled those negotiations under any other circumstances. If the mock trial didn’t make Louis enough of a joke, having him bungle the dissolution negotiations of his beloved law firm because of a cat felt insulting.

Recurring Baddies

We breathed a sigh of relief when Daniel Hardman was finally ousted from New York, banished to New Jersey to practice law far away from Jessica and her firm. And personally, I thought that was the end of having to endure watching the same bad guys over and over again. Boy, was I wrong.

First, Cameron Dennis, District Attorney and Harvey’s old boss, came back for an arc of Hessington episodes. Then, weirdly, we had to endure Travis Tanner again. His reappearance was so random that Harvey practically lampshaded it, asking how Tanner insinuated himself into the Hessington case. Dennis’ return makes more sense, since he’s the D.A., and Gary Cole is a lot more palatable as a hard-nosed lawyer with questionable morals than Tanner’s weird vendetta against Harvey. It’s gotten to the point where I really do believe Tanner has a subscription to Harvey Specter Monthly. Then again, wouldn’t you?

Bringing these old “villains” back in the midst of dealing with Darby, Robert Zane, and Stephen Huntley makes it feel like this show is overloading itself with bad guys to distract from the lackluster storylines. It also makes us, the viewers, weary when we see other old faces, such as Dana “Scotty” Scott, because our instinct is to believe she’s back for nefarious reasons.

Do they bring these people back because they think the viewers enjoyed them the first time? Should we expect another appearance from Trevor in the winter episodes?

An unexpectedly sweet moment between Mike and Harvey. Or a sexually-charged moment, depending on how you watch this show.

 

As disappointing as this season has been for me, there have been some gems as well. Louis and Sheila had an unexpectedly sweet storyline in the summer finale. The episode where Louis was courting Mike to be his personal associate was fantastic. I’m a big fan of Scotty (but I’m not a fan of Harvey and Scotty as a couple) so I was happy to see her back. Harvey and Jessica’s fight, while painful, had a great and poignant resolution. And most of all, I loved anything and everything to do with Harvey and Donna: their flashback episode, Harvey punching Stephen, Harvey taking Donna out to breakfast and then shopping… those two never have a bad scene together, even when they fight.

 

I hope this Hessington storyline is finished. I hope we get to see Pearson Specter stand up on its own and truly fend off attacks from other firms, instead of watching them run around solving problems with short-term solutions that backfire three episodes later. I hope we stop focusing on Mike’s personal life so much and we get to watch him move up the ranks within the company. Most of all, I hope we get to see more of Jessica kicking butts and taking names.

A last word about Louis: I hate that he discovered Mike’s secret. (It’s possible this is a red herring scenario, and he’ll go to Jessica with his discovery only to have her say, “Oh, his file was missing because i have it right here!”) This sets up Louis to be at odds with Harvey, and potentially his own firm, once more. Unfortunately, Louis shines when he collaborates. He and Rachel are great together, he and Donna are hilarious, he and Katrina are a force to be reckoned with, and does anything beat that scene where Harvey told Louis that he respects him? So why is this show working against a winning formula by pitting Louis against his own firm again?

Advertisements

One thought on “Where did “Suits” go wrong?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s