“We do what we need to do.”

**This post contains spoilers for 4.05 of Suits, “Pound of Flesh.”**

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Good news, everyone! Last week’s Suits was marginally better than it has been all season! I’ll give you a moment to celebrate, because believe me, we need it.

It didn’t start out great; for the ninety billionth week in a row, Rachel complains about her workload and how difficult her super-privileged life is as a law student and as Harvey Specter’s associate, in case you forgot. The sad part is that Mike comes off looking like the jerk here, as he turned off Rachel’s alarm, causing her to be late for work. Like he’s never met/worked for Harvey Specter before. C’mon Mike.

But Rachel is so exhausted you guys, even though she promised everyone who would listen that she could handle this workload. It’s her M.O.: Make a huge stand about being able to handle things as an adult, and then immediately buckle and beg for sympathy from the people around her. She winds up fainting from exhaustion at school, which is not only kind of lame (an ulcer would’ve packed a bigger punch) but it ends up being a plot device for Mike and Harvey to meet on some sort of middle ground. Hey, I never said this episode was perfect, I only said it was better.

Rachel wakes up from a horrible nightmare, which is actually just a flashback of Logan Sanders proposing to her before he suddenly turns into Mike, and then she goes back to sleep all wide-eyed and worried. An actual nervous breakdown would’ve been preferable to this.

Mike, Harvey, Jeff, and Jessica all talk about buying out a block of shares that somehow manages to mess with Mike’s plan and draw the bead from the SEC. Jeff figures out a “questionable” way to acquire the shares, which floats for the majority of the episode until Rachel lands her exhausted butt in the hospital. That’s when Harvey takes Mike out on a date — a literal date with mood lighting, expensive food, and suggestive talking — and manage to mend their fences. Things look good for our favorite duo until afterwards, when the SEC guy, Cahill, materializes out of nowhere and accuses them of colluding.

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This results in Mike being mad at Harvey for not being honest with him about the whole shares thing, and Harvey basically begs Mike to trust him. He goes to bat for Mike against Jessica, but Jessica overrules him. Harvey ends up apologizing to Mike for not taking his takeover plan many months ago, which is nice and all, but it doesn’t help Mike. The scene ends with Harvey telling Mike, “Do what you have to do.”

But Mike finally grows a conscience and tries to pull out of his deal with Forstman, but it’s too late: Sidwell has taken the deal and has cut Mike out of it. Turnabout’s fair play.

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The best part of the episode is the one-off story with Donna and Louis, where he finds her trying to memorize her lines for the part of Portia in Merchant of Venice and freaks out when she tells him that tonight is opening night and she’s still not off-book. He vows to spend the entire day helping her memorize her lines (because of course Louis knows all the words to all of Shakespeare’s plays) and during the course of the rehearsals, Donna confesses that she’s terrified of getting back onstage.

 

The next day, she begs Louis to fill in for one of the injured actors, but Louis has crippling stage fright and refuses. It’s his deep love for Donna that compels him to finally agree, but it’s not without its issues. As hokey as the storyline might’ve seemed to a first-time viewer, it’s this sort of lightheartedness and camaraderie that’s been sorely lacking from this show.

Also, I lied. The absolute best part of the episode was the very end, when Harvey dropped everything to be at the closing night of Donna’s big play. There weren’t even any indicators throughtout the episode that Harvey really cared or was aware of how important it was to her, so it’s a particularly touching scene.

Next week: more yelling, more stalk-talk, and more use of the word “bullshit” during every act.

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“Pull the leverage, Louis! … WRONG LEVERAGE!”

**This post contains spoilers for 4.04 of Suits, “Leveraged.”**

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This episode of Suits started out strong, with Donna busting into Mike’s see-through office like a wrecking ball to yell at him about privacy, friendship, and designer handbags. She leaves mollified, because she’s the only person on this show that knows how to walk a line between work and personal (except for Jessica, who is admittedly struggling with that at the moment). She compliments Mike’s assistant, Amy, for her shoes, and pretty much that’s the only scene that’s entirely on point in this episode. I won’t say it’s all downhill from here, but there’s definitely a decline.

Fourth episode in a row where Harvey's wearing a waistcoat. Bless.

Fourth episode in a row where Harvey’s wearing a waistcoat… and a scowl. Bless.

The SEC storyline seems to fizzle before it really starts, with Jessica and Jeff teaming up to take down Sean Cahill of the SEC. Unfortunately, it backfires because I guess everyone on this show gets outmaneuvered at the last minute.

Actual power couple.

Actual power couple.

Mike, meanwhile, leverages (ha! Get it? The theme tonight is “leverage,” and if you manage to get it on a triple word score, you win a set of bickering lawyers-slash-ex-boyfriends!) a Photoshopped picture of Sheila to throw Louis off of his game, and Louis, predictably, falls for it. This is too much for Harvey, who righteously rages at Louis with an appropriate amount of disappointment and anger in the moment; he doesn’t treat Louis any differently than he would treat Mike or Donna, but the problem this time is that dealing with Louis always means lasting ramifications. Louis is the pond that people throw pebbles into, and by the time the ripples reach the shore, they’re tsunamis.

Great scene for Gabriel Macht in particular; it makes this episode worth watching.

Great scene for Gabriel Macht in particular; it makes this episode worth watching.

Louis heads off Mike with Tony Gionopolus (who is still relevant I guess) and manages to cut all ties with Mike. He warns him that people hold grudges, which somehow magically gives Mike the idea to go to someone named Forstman, who likes to control people, exact revenge, and brood in diners about lost Aston Martins. This is bad news for Harvey’s case, and Louis fesses up immediately to the role he played in it, which results in one of the most devastating scenes on this show.

 

 

It’s not an entirely earned scene; Louis has done much worse than inadvertently remind someone of an old grudge (and that’s on Harvey for not taking into account how much personal information Mike has on him in the first place) and this tiny faux pas doesn’t warrant this deep disappointment Harvey exhibits. The scene barely works only because the actors are great and because Harvey’s outburst earlier in the episode was so effective. This is another case of the show leaning too hard on the drama and not enough on the actual plot; all of the back-and-forth actually undercuts the emotional punches. Imagine if this scene had happened without Harvey’s pseudo-apology — if he had just cooled off, then went into Louis’ office and started with “You know what? I’m done.” Devastating! And earned.

(The entire thing was ruined by odd shaky camera work. I swear, sometimes the creative decisions on this show…) Still, the scene works, and it’s gonna drive Louis through the next couple of episodes I’m sure. Harvey, in turn, needs to learn not to come down so hard on people when they fail him. Those are the sorts of outbursts that have garnered him so many enemies.

Behold! Chemistry.

Behold! Chemistry.

Mike continues down his road to perdition, choosing all of the worst solutions to his growing Gillis Industries problem. He starts with the Louis thing, then teaming up with Forstman and denying Harvey’s dire warning about Forstman’s motives. When Forstman then tells Mike that his one caveat is for Mike to cut his boss, Sidwell, out of the final deal, Mike yells at Amy that he doesn’t have a choice. Harvey, in his sober farewell to his former protegee, tells Mike that he always has a choice. Mike doesn’t listen; he shakes hands with Forstman and accepts Sidwell’s congratulations like there’s nothing amiss. (No wonder Patrick Adams got a lot of hate tweets after this episode.)

True to form, Rachel fails to leave work stuff at work, bringing home the Louis stuff to pick a fight with Mike. Sure, Mike was wrong to do what he did to someone he claimed was a friend, but he’s focused on the bigger picture, which is exactly what he told Rachel he would be doing. If you’re keeping track, that makes this the 48th episode in a row where Rachel insists she can handle a complicated, multi-layered situation and fails miserably.

Behold! ... Meh.

Behold! … Meh.

But if you started this episode thinking “Hey! Maybe Rachel learned from her past mistakes with Logan Sanders!” then please allow me to laugh in your face. She learned nothing. He contrives some kind of investment deal (I wasn’t totally paying attention) in order to spend some alone time with her, which she completely recognizes but lets him deny. They argue a bit, I think there was supposed to be heat there but the stunning lack of chemistry makes me wonder if anyone screen tests anymore. Then at the end of the episode, Logan leans in for a kiss and Rachel allllmost lets it land. She’s flustered when she leaves, which again, I don’t totally understand because there’s exactly zero sexual tension in their scenes. Have I emphasized that enough?

Donna Paulsen, voice of reason.

Donna Paulsen, voice of reason.

There was another good Donna scene where she bluntly reminded Harvey that Louis considers him to be his best friend — he’d even asked Harvey to be his best man. Other than that, there’s a deplorable lack of Donna again and I’m starting to lose hope that she’ll get a meaty storyline this season.

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The relationship between Mike and Amy is compelling because she’s every bit as confident and qualified as Donna, and she plays off Mike the same way Donna plays off Harvey. If they’re smart, they’ll play that out as a parallel, especially if Mike and Rachel continue to be pulled in opposite directions. They may not be long for this world, though; Amy looks disappointed in Mike after he makes his dirty deal.

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Finally, after getting caught lying about the way he left the SEC (meaning, he was about to be fired for not going after Pearson Specter) Jeff tells Jessica that he will never lie to her, man to woman. She shows up on his doorstep with All About Eve and Raging Bulls, it’s a really sweet scene.

Next episode: Probably more of the same. Hopefully more Jessica this time.

Two in the Knees, or Next Time, Take the Kill Shot

**This post contains spoilers for episode 4.03 of Suits, “Two in the Knees.”**

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Last night, my friend Beth asked if I wanted to livestream a particular Miranda episode called “Holiday,” because it’s something I quote every single Wednesday night during Suits, thanks to the Rush promos starring non-accented Tom Ellis as the main character. “No, I’m sorry,” I said to her, “I have a friend over at my house unexpectedly.” Also, I didn’t tell her this, but I still had to torture myself with a rewatch of Suits in order to write this review before bedtime.

That’s my way of saying that I hope Rush is better than Suits, otherwise it might be the end of the line for me and USA Network.

What I wouldn’t give to be watching Miranda right now anyway. (Have you seen it? If not, get thee a free trial of Hulu Plus and educate yourself.)

“Two in the Knees” started out with Rachel complaining about all the work she has to do for the job she begged for, because she’s splitting her time between work and school, in case you weren’t aware that Rachel is a Columbia Law Student and a Specter Paralegal Summer Child Associate. Guys, seriously. I cannot impress upon you how busy Rachel is all the time, and how graceless she is about the entire thing.

Mike, of course, can’t let Rachel be the only terrible one on the screen, so he asks if Rachel loved Logan Sanders, son of the Colonel, and heir to the Fried Chicken Empire of Toronto-Manhattan. If that question seems a little out of the blue and oddly timed, that’s because it is. Why didn’t he ask when Rachel first disclosed this affair? Why didn’t he ask when he found out he was going up against Logan? Eh, those questions are better suited to a show that plots itself better. For now, we know that Mike is asking this totally random and juvenile question because it’ll come up later.

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Mike redeems himself by having coffee with Donna, who is flawless as always — she even declares herself a fan of Harvey, as if we didn’t already know that. She confides that Harvey is trying to get ahold of his dad’s original recorded tapes, and it seems like a nice little moment until Mike uses those tapes against Harvey later. Womp womp.

Logan Sanders, serious about running this Fried Chicken Empire now, stops by to tell Rachel that he’s going to be tactical and calculated in his movements from now on. Rachel pretends to be totally on board with that, because she’s always pretending she’s an adult who doesn’t take these things personally, but again, we know she’ll change her mind later once she realizes what the stakes are. Logan, for all of his douchery, not only pinpoints Harvey’s weak spot (Mike) but he seems to sniff out the fact that Mike has something to hide. He tells Harvey to hire investigators to look into Mike, or that he will himself.

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He’s in a waistcoat again! They’re reading my reviews! (Or my mind.)

Harvey spends the episode doing everything he can to avoid that eventuality — disclosing Mike’s former drug trafficking to Gilles, sidestepping Logan, the whole shebang — but Mike comes in stomping his little feet like some kind of Zane tornado and calling Harvey a “piece of shit,” which is something Harvey’s getting a lot lately. Harvey insists he shot Mike in the knees to keep Logan from shooting him in the face, but Mike continues his self-victimizing rant about Harvey having it out for him just because he left, and Harvey never seems to find the right way to tell Mike that he’s doing it because he cares. At the end of the fight, Mike reveals that he’s bought Harvey’s father’s tapes in a tactical move of his own, because he’s just awful now, I guess.

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Mike: “You can’t stand that I got out of here and that I’m succeeding without you.”
Harvey: “Without me? I made you. Without me, you’re nothing.”
Mike: “Right there. That’s who you are. That’s why I left.”
Harvey: “Bullshit, don’t lay that on me. You left because you needed to feed that huge ego.”

Mike makes Pearson Specter sound like some kind of slum that people need to work to get out of, and tries to trumpet the idea that he somehow ~made it out alive~. Harvey, unfortunately, falls for it and trots out all of his usual arguments, but he’s also not wrong. Mike’s rewriting history now; he never left because of Harvey, he left because he didn’t want the threat of his lack-of-law-degree to hang over him for the rest of his career. Trying to couch it in this idea of Harvey being overbearing or a bully is just cheap and stupid, and it automatically puts the viewer on Harvey’s side for at least being honest.

That makes Harvey’s subsequent scene with Donna kind of hard to swallow, because she lays out some truths that don’t seem to mesh entirely with the scene we just saw. Mike’s the one acting out, he’s the one making it personal and coming back to Pearson Specter to rail at Harvey every time the man takes a shot, but Donna calls out Harvey for not giving the kid a good explanation for what he did. She convinces him to go to Rachel, because even Donna has an occasional bad idea.

Rachel’s more than happy to do Harvey’s dirty work, but she gets home to a morose Mike who read her depositions from Logan’s divorce trial and — get ready you guys, because this is a doozy — she lied. GASP. I know. And he’s upset. Because Logan dumped her, so that means Mike is just the guy she settled for! Mike, the same Mike who kissed Rachel while he was dating Jenny, that Mike. He’s just all over the place being terrible. She puts a bandaid on it, but I’m betting it’s temporary. Like all bandaids.

She goes to Logan to plead to his human side? I don’t know, but we get another terrible Rachel flashback where she accidentally encounters Logan with his wife, and his wife correctly pins Rachel as his mistress. In the ensuing argument, Logan tells his wife that he’d never cheat on her with “a paralegal” which is presumably where she started getting that victim complex about her job, which is also incredibly annoying.

She goes to Logan’s Chicken Fried Apartment in the present and tells him he owes her because she lied for him in his divorce proceedings. He goes to Mike to apologize and say he’s backing off, but he doesn’t miss the chance to take his shot: “I don’t want to hurt Rachel.” He says it with a smug expression, and Mike takes it as a challenge I’m sure. (No one on this show just does straight up business.)

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The face of a man who just took another calculated shot at Mike Ross.

Luckily, Mike does right by Harvey by sending him the tapes via courier Rachel Zane. So that’s over.

Meanwhile, in Louis Land, Jeff uses Louis to try to get some one-on-one time with Jessica, but it backfires twice somehow. First, Louis thinks Jeff is in love with him. Then Louis figures out that Jeff is in love with Jessica. The upshot is that even though Louis was being great to Jeff, and Jeff wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt him… Louis now feels betrayed and heartbroken by someone he thought had genuinely liked him as a friend.

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It was all almost worth it for this expression, though.

Jessica spends the entire episode sidestepping an increasingly predatory Jeff, which I was mildly annoyed by, because dude is getting really pushy. It ended well, because Jessica didn’t give in to his rather aggressive tactics, so I feel like this storyline kinda works only because Jessica is so strong and driven. (Rachel would’ve given in a long time ago.)

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The episode ends with Jeff telling Jessica that the big SEC case they’ve been hinting at is about to start. She tells him it’s about time he started earning his money, and honestly, I’ll love this guy hardcore if he’s actually a good lawyer and doesn’t make the same Specter-Ross mistakes we’ve been putting up with for the last three seasons.

Two weeks from now: Rachel thinks all Mike cares about is winning. Then my DVR cut off the rest of the preview, so that’s all I have to look forward to. *yawn*

Litt Up for Lunch and Dinner

**This post contains spoilers for episode 4.02 of Suits, “Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner”**

This week on Suits, things not directly related to Jessica, Louis, and Donna continued to suck.

Harvey wore a waistcoat, so at least there was that.

Harvey wore a waistcoat, so at least there was that.

The episode started out promising that Rachel (you remember Rachel, she’s Sort of An Associate who goes to Not Harvard and had an affair with a married man who is now Harvey’s client) would make all the wrong decisions, just as she usually does. Luckily for her, Donna waltzed into her office as if she sensed angst and bad decisions in the air, and she forced Rachel to come clean about Logan Sanders. Rachel was literally like, “What do I do?” and Donna was like “I see I have to hold your hand through this, so I will be very clear: Go tell Harvey. Now. Because he hates Not Being Told Things.” Rachel was like, “Okay, yes, I will go tell Harvey now, quickly, because time is of the essence. Any dilly-dallying would be catastrophic. I’m going right now to tell Harvey.”

Then, unfortunately, we were treated to the worst flashback in the history of TV show flashbacks. And I mean, I’m being serious here, I’m an Arrow fan through and through and some of those early season-one flashbacks were tedious — but this Rachel one takes the cake. Let me paint you a word picture: She sits at a bar, Logan comes up to her and wants more kisses, she pretends to resist and asks what happens if someone finds out about their boring torrid affair, and he says, “I don’t care.” And that’s what sways her. He doesn’t care, and that’s just so attractive to her.

The hilarious thing is, I thought this would be a flashback episode like “Rewind,” where we chronicle Rachel’s relationship with Logan, or at least how it fell apart, but no, this was the only flashback. And it was utterly devoid of chemistry or compelling body language or anything that would get a viewer interested in Rachel’s single biggest transgression. The whole thing smacked of being perfunctory.

Anyway, remember how Rachel was running to go tell Harvey about her super-lame affair with Logan? Well —

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This shot just makes me really really irrationally angry.

I mean, this situation definitely calls for a hardcore session of Staring At Yourself in the Bathroom Mirror. Even when she tries to do the right thing, Rachel still managed to make this about herself.

She runs into Logan in Harvey’s otherwise-empty office and he tries to persuade her not to disclose their affair, because he’s an ass and we’re supposed to believe Rachel once found him appealing, but it’s all for nothing: Harvey doesn’t care. Or, he pretends not to care. He actually does care, because now Logan knows that Rachel’s in a relationship with the guy on the other side of the table, and Harvey knows that Rachel is incapable of handling things that aren’t clearly spelled out for her in those kiddie blocks with the letters on them.

Let it be known that it only took Rachel exactly two episodes before she started whining about splitting her time between work and law school. She accuses Harvey of setting a meeting during her time at law school (Donna set that meeting) and he says it doesn’t matter when the meeting is, because she’s not going anyway. She stomps her foot and tantrums that Harvey thinks she can’t handle it. Why doesn’t she realize that every time she throws the “So-and-so thinks I can’t handle this!” scenario out there, it just makes people believe she can’t handle it?! She’s self-victimizing, again, and once again, none of this is actually about her. (Make no mistake — this whole Logan Sanders case is about Mike vs. Harvey, Rachel just doesn’t know that.)

When Mike refuses Logan’s deal, Rachel yells at him because she’s like 98% sure it was about her, Rachel Zane, Special Unicorn Summer Child Associate at Pearson Specter, and she screams at Mike as she sloshes around her glass of alcohol. Unfortunately, Mike’s taken on some of Rachel’s less charming attributes (like taking things personally and an increasing victim complex) so we can’t be totally sure that Mike didn’t throw the papers in Logan’s face just to spite him.

The last 20 minutes or so of the episode are mercifully Rachel-free until the very end, when she and Mike lamely apologize to each other, and true to this show’s M.O. of late, it ends with a fizzle instead of a bang.

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Take your $30 million and DONATE IT TO CHARITY!

Harvey and Mike spend the entire episode hatefully snarking at each other and treating Gilles Industries like a pawn. Mike screams at Harvey and Logan and tosses their $30 million deal into the air in a truly Zane-ian tantrum, then goes crawling back to Harvey the next day after his boss threatens to fire him for turning down such a lucrative deal. Harvey basically tough-loves him; sorry, kiddo, you’re in the big leagues now. Mike ends up going back to Gilles himself and delivering almost the exact dialogue Thor delivered to Odin in Thor: “You are an old man and a fool!” And because no one on this show has normal reactions to things that should insult them, Gilles just deflates and gives up on his dream. Mike thinks he’s won, but Harvey tells him he’s only make it to Round Two. What I wouldn’t give for a good KO right now.

But! Now that all of that distasteful Main Story stuff is out of the way, we can focus on the good parts of the show! Louis is working hard on his pitch of Pearson Specter Litt to Jessica when Katrina comes rushing in, telling Louis to get his hiney over to Jessica’s office. That’s where Louis finds out that Jeff Malone, formerly of the S.E.C, has been hired as a partner. All Louis hears from Jessica is “You’re a loser,” about fifty different ways. Literally, the show actually did close-ups of Gina Torres’ mouth as she slow-mo said things like “And you’re a looooser!” Louis wants to curl up and die, but when Katrina finds him writing in his diary forlornly, she gives him a pep talk that gets him up and fighting.

He and Jeff Malone run at each other the next day, and that entire sequence was so delightful because they’re good sparring partners and their expertise is similar. They both end up in the deposition, bellowing at each other as their guy starts to sweat, and then they team up to break the guy. It’s pretty great, even if Louis still doesn’t like Malone.

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So pretty.

It takes a visit from Donna to turn things around; she tells Louis an unexpectedly personal story from her college days, where she auditioned for Hamlet and lost the part to another woman. She said she spent the whole run wishing something would happen to the girl so that she could go onstage, and then she tears up as she tells Louis that the night before their last show, the woman’s father died. Louis is visibly affected, mostly because he can’t seem to fathom such ugliness is in his beautiful Donna, and the message gets across.

She wasn’t done, though. She went to Jessica to advise her to at least give Louis the corner office, so that he can feel like his work is being rewarded even if he’s not as close to becoming a named partner as he wants to be. Jessica categorically refuses until Donna deduces that Jessica was sleeping with Jeff. Still, at the end of the day, rewarding Louis is what’s best for the company (and honestly, it’s long overdue). Louis is so happy when Jessica tells him that he hugs her tightly and fights off tears.

You feel that, Jessica? That's a LITT UP hug!

You feel that, Jessica? That’s a LITT UP hug!

Donna’s office-warming gift to Louis? A framed picture of herself as Ophelia. He puts it on his desk with a big smile. Their friendship is so sweet.

Next week, more stuff and things probably happen, there’s probably two or three tantrums, and maybe Harvey will wear a waistcoat again!

One-Two-Three Zzzzzz…

**This post contains spoilers for 4.01 of Suits, “One-Two-Three Go…”**

Suits came back… and everything still kind of sucks.

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I can’t help but feel like there’s a severe disconnect between me and the people who write and create the show. Sometimes I think I’m watching a completely different show from what everyone else is watching, and then I remember that I have a Twitter timeline of people who normally have vastly different tastes from me, but for one hour every Wednesday night, we’re all united in our bewilderment over the state of Suits for the past couple of seasons. That makes me think that maybe the problem isn’t with me… it’s with the writers and showrunners.

The show has evolved from a fun little drama (bordering on dramedy at times) into one that takes itself entirely too seriously. It’s like watching Law & Order but all of the characters are from your favorite comedies, and they’re awkwardly playing against type — like if Chandler Bing and Leslie Knope were walking around growling about lawsuits and mergers, nary a sarcastic remark or enthusiastic pep talk in sight. It’s like these characters have been warped and twisted to be more stoic and less interesting.

Last night’s season 4 premiere was more of the same pattern. Mike now works for one of Pearson Specter’s clients, and predictably, he and Harvey find themselves at loggerheads over something called Gilles Industries by the end of the episode; this will definitely be the new Hessington Oil/overwrought half-season story arc that will end with with a fizzle rather than a bang.

Rachel the Magical Unicorn, after getting her Super Special Exception from Jessica for going to Not Harvard, has managed to not only strongarm Jessica into letting her be some kind of dual-enrolled student-and-unicorn-lawyer, she is also Harvey’s new pseudo-mentee. Leaving aside the fact that Rachel I-Don’t-Use-My-Dad’s-Name-to-Get-Things Zane managed to make this entire law firm bow to her every whim through tears and tantrums, I’d like to know what it is about her that is supposed to make us believe that Harvey finds her an acceptable mentee. Harvey, who pitched a fit to Donna in the pilot episode that all of the prospective associates were so boring — they were so terrible that he went and hired a kid with no law degree just because he found Mike fascinating. Other than the fact that she’s dating his old mentee, what is Harvey supposed to see in Rachel? Because the viewers aren’t buying it.

Anyway, Rachel insists on not being used by Harvey to send messages to Mike unless she knows she’s being used, because that makes it better somehow. She whines to Harvey, then whines to Mike, then literally fails at being cute (Harvey: “Instead of failing to be charming, why don’t you do something useful”) before finding out that she’s going to be Special Unicorn Associate Lawyering for one Logan Sanders, which appears to horrify her. We don’t find out the big reveal until the end of the episode, where she tells Mike, “Do you remember when I told you that I once had an affair with a married man? It was him.”

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You dun goofed, Rachel.

Simple solution: take yourself off the case. Super Special Unicorn Columbia Law Student Associate solution: something infinitely more convoluted and whiny.

The Louis-Katrina alliance is a much more dynamic relationship to watch, because Katrina does everything with purpose; she’s serving Louis with simpers and compliments and while you get the impression that she genuinely likes him, you’re also acutely aware that Katrina is a schemer. But she’s loyal to Louis for the time being, and Louis is constantly proving himself too smart for this law firm. Nearly every episode starts with him about to make a good decision, then he’s waylaid by some harebrained advice or gossip from Harvey, and Louis proceeds to spend the rest of the episode (or season) being woefully misinformed, even though his initial instincts were right.

Last night’s episode was no exception, as Louis and Katrina quickly sussed out the week’s Big Bad Threat, a man named Jeff Mallone who happens to be the man Jessica is seeing. Louis spends the entire episode sitting on this information, waiting for Jessica and Harvey to come to him for help because Harvey had given him dumb advice early on. It’s frustrating that this show relies on its same old tropes even as they try to present them as New! and Fresh! because honestly, we’ve seen this same song and dance for three seasons now.

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“You cook?” asked Harvey, because apparently he wanted a knee to the groin.

Jessica Pearson continues to kick ass, because no one writes weak stuff for Gina Torres. The only thing that bothered me about her storyline is the way people (namely Jeff and Harvey) kept insisting that she had to choose between her business and her relationship, but since she’s Jessica, I’m pretty sure she’ll be okay. The scene in Harvey’s apartment, where she cooked and confided in Harvey about her relationship with Jeff, was a particularly great scene… until Harvey awkwardly turned into a twelve-year-old boy and literally asked Jessica if that means Jeff had seen her naked. This is what I’m talking about — this kind of banter is stilted and forced, but early in the show’s run, it happened organically.

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“Hmm, what? I can’t hear people who are WRONG ALL THE TIME. Bow to me, for I am Donna.”

The other theme du jour was Treating Donna Like Crap, and almost everyone did it. Donna is the everyman on this show, the person through which the average viewer tends to watch the show (this is another thing I think the writers fail to realize — they write as if we relate to Rachel the most, or Mike, but no: it’s Donna, it’s always Donna) and to watch her be dismissed and belittled separately by Harvey and Mike, it makes the viewer feel oddly alienated. If we aren’t going to have the reliable Harvey/Mike alliance to fall back on, we at least need to know that Donna’s still appreciated.

So to recap: Mike vs. Harvey, with Rachel having slept with Harvey’s married client, and Jessica is hiring her boyfriend Jeff as a partner I guess? These all sound like really good plotlines that will no doubt pan out perfectly for everyone.

Tune in next week for more shenanigans! Or don’t, I don’t really care. I’ll still write about it.

Tune In/Tune Out: March 2-9, 2014

Geez. OK, well so much for the rerun hinterlands of March. ABC has been packing in a string of high-profile episodes and premiering several new series, while other networks have been slipping in new episodes, considering they no longer have to contend with the Winter Olympics. And, as Kerry said earlier today, “so many duds, so many great ones.” Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

TUNE IN

NCIS: I’m a fan of Robert Wagner’s portrayal of Anthony DiNozzo, Sr., mainly because he often serves as comic relief. But I especially liked his guest spot in this week’s episode because his reason for being in town put his son’s new-found enlightenment to the test. – Moff

Brooklyn Nine Nine: I love when this show gets to be action-y, and the tactical village was a really cool way to see the characters in a true police setting. Jake seemed primed to take a big step forward with Amy, only to be beaten to the punch, while Rosa finally found out the true reason Boyle didn’t invite her to his wedding. I never thought I’d say this about this show, but it looks like we’re ramping up for an emotional conclusion to the season! (And congrats to this show and <i>The Mindy Project</i> on their renewals!) –Kerry

Trophy Wife: Two words: Bert Day. It’s as amazing as it sounds. –Kerry

Joe Punjsd

You know the rhyme.

Community: Visually, it was weird, and the story was a lot more depressing than it seemed on the surface, but it was still a fantastic episode. It left me really excited to see where the rest of the season is going. – Moff

Lereyo

How have we never had an ‘Andy = Kool-Aid guy’ joke before now?

Parks and Recreation: Ron Swanson hangs out with his newborn son for the entire episode, a swarm of bees attacks mostly Eagletonians, and everyone is insanely quotable. (“Hey Ron, cool baby.”) –Kerry

Elementary Gifed

So many dirty jokes, so little time.

Elementary: If you don’t tune in just to see roosters hanging out in the Brownstone, then maybe the case of the week, which is twisty with a weird conclusion, will appeal to you. Ears to you! –Kerry

Sherlocked Mind Palace

Arrow: Comes for the abs, stay for the acting

Arrow: Slade Wilson hangs out at the Queen mansion, freaking out Oliver as he charms his mother and sister, while back on the island, Oliver goes and lets the bad guy monologue. Never let the bad guy monologue! But it still made for a seriously good hour of television. –Kerry

Multiprises

And this drawing is actually *less* creepy.

Grimm: We got a little bit of the larger, Royal-related arc, and we got a creepy new creature. And Sgt. Wu finally got a first name and some back story! Of course, it didn’t end particularly well for him, but it’s been a long time coming. – Moff

TUNE OUT

How I Met Your Mother: this week’s episode made me regret recommending this show to everyone who would listen. Even if the show ends with a miraculous (spoiler), the entire narrative of the show has been cheapened. My instinct is to tune out the show for the rest of the series, but curiosity may get the better of me. –Kerry

Suits: The stakes have never been more… the same as ever. Louis re-realized Mike was a fraud, Rachel walked around two apartments in lingerie, and Harvey bickered with Scotty over her contract and buy-in at Pearson Specter. The episode <i>is</i> worth the precious few scenes we get of Donna and Jessica (they both get two separate scenes, each) but since it amounts to about seven minutes of screentime, just skip this one. Maybe tune in next week, though it’s possible nothing will happen then, either. –Kerry

About a Boy: I really wanted to like this show, because the premise is right up my alley. The kid is unbelievably cute and hits all his marks like a veteran, but there’s still something missing from the show as a whole. While the pilot was fine, I didn’t expect the second episode to be so formulaic (guy doesn’t want to watch kid, kid really likes guy, guy has to watch kid, guy takes kid to grown-up party, guy neglects kid, guy learns exact same lesson he just learned in the pilot) and the whole thing ended up feeling flat to me. Hopefully the third episode’s the charm! –Kerry

My Favorite TV Ships

It’s Valentine’s Day, which means it’s time to celebrate our favorite TV ships! These are current and Of All Time ships (so, you know, they’re kind of a big deal) and I’d like to hear your picks or disagreements in the comments. (Chuck/Blair fans need not apply. Just kidding. Or am I?)  

 

Barney Stinson / Robin Scherbatsky

How I Met Your Mother

I love how these actors play off each other, and their love story in the early seasons was fun and unique. They’re each selfish and bad at relationships, but somehow, they fit together perfectly. They called it quits once, but they never stopped loving each other, which means this marriage might actually work. It won’t be without its ups and downs — they wouldn’t be Barney and Robin without their explosive fights, ridiculous antics, and scotch-sipping — but I believe Uncle Barney and Aunt Robin will be just fine. 

 

Dan Humphrey / Blair Waldorf

Gossip Girl

I was a fan of this pairing almost from the beginning. Two characters from different social circles, socioeconomic statuses, and perspectives, Dan and Blair always had compelling interactions and a fascinating push-and-pull even when they were on opposite sides of an issue. The show started with a decidedly Dan/Serena bias, but it shifted the focus quickly to Chuck/Blair, which made any potential of a Dan/Blair relationship seem unlikely. Season 4 surprised everyone by finally throwing Dan and Blair into a storyline where they gradually realized their similar interests and equal intellect. Their ever-present chemistry intensified as Dan realized his feelings, and eventually, they ended up dating despite it all. This will always be both my favorite and least-favorite ships of all time: They were so great when they were allowed to be themselves, but ultimately the relationship sank into the dank and foul cesspool known as the Gossip Girl writer’s room. I’ll always blame Stephanie Savage for that.

 

 

Emma Swan / Jefferson

Once Upon a Time

A single episode launched this ship for me. Sebastian Stan and Jennifer Morrison had crackling chemistry, but his busy schedule made him a rarity in Storybrooke, so the relationship never came to fruition. It’s a shame, because she doesn’t have the same chemistry with Neal, and she and Jefferson could’ve bonded over their children. (Maybe Grace would’ve made Henry a little less irritating. A girl can dream!)

 

 

Greg House / Allison Cameron

House

Emma Swan’s lack of chemistry with Neal on Once is even more confusing when you consider the first three seasons of House. Cameron challenged House and made him softer at the same time. I don’t know why this show was so reluctant to explore their dynamic (one date and a few allusions to feelings did not amount to a fair shot) but I always found this relationship far more compelling than the one between House and Cuddy. I suppose, in the end, House never felt like he deserved Cameron.

 

 

Guy / Marian

BBC Robin Hood

I know I already talked about Dan/Blair being my favorite and least-favorite ship, but oh, this one probably beats that. I mean, at least Dan never stabbed Blair through the midsection with a sword and killed her. Marian probably could’ve planned that a little better — maybe don’t tell your scorned lover that you’ve been in love with his mortal enemy while he’s holding a sword in your general vicinity — but it doesn’t excuse Guy’s actions. Still, I think back fondly on all of those intense scenes between Lucy Griffiths and Richard Armitage (a leather-clad Richard Armitage at that…) and I wonder where it all went wrong. I guess they couldn’t go against canon and have Marian run off with the villain, but at the same time, was that their only solution to the problem? Robin/Marian had their fans but their sweet scenes were always overshadowed by the intensity of any and all Guy/Marian interactions. I guess the chemistry between Richard and Lucy was so powerful that the only option was to murder.

 

 

Harvey Specter / Donna Paulsen

Suits

They’ve worked together for years, and their relationship is the only healthy thing Harvey has in his life. Why can’t these two just get together already?! Three seasons is long enough, writers!

 

 

Jeff Winger / Annie Edison

Community

I love this ship even if half the time, it feels like fanservice. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my favorite moments with these two are the small ones, like when they unknowingly mirror each other’s body language, or when Jeff desperately tries to convince Annie that “fat dog” is a thing, or when they team up together and work in perfect unison to defeat the Chair Walkers during The Floor is Lava, or when Jeff stands up for Annie without even realizing it. I love cutesy capers and “platonic” shoulder-holding as much as the next shipper, but give me Jeff and Annie teaming up or interacting normally and I’ll be perfectly content. I don’t even need it to be endgame — that’s what “Gravity” videos are for.

 

Joan Watson / Marcus Bell

Elementary

Marcus clearly has a soft spot for Joan, and Joan’s always so happy to see Marcus. It’s not a ship I feel particularly strongly about — if one of them starts dating someone else, I won’t be too upset — but I’d really like to see this show explore the possibility. They’d make a very good team, and it’d be nice to see that side of Bell in particular.

 

 

Leslie Knope / Ben Wyatt

Parks and Recreation

They are perfect together. He complements her dorkiness (and even surpasses it sometimes — he nerds out about numbers and Star Trek harder than Leslie nerds out about Harry Potter) and he’s always on her side. I defy you to find a healthier relationship on TV.

 

Logan Echolls / Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars

Turbulent, passionate, damaging, “spanning years and continents, lives ruined, bloodshed, EPIC” are words that I (and Logan) would use to describe the relationship between Veronica and Logan. He has an intensity that would make anyone else uncomfortable, but Veronica always knows how to match or parry that. The first season was my favorite, because we got to watch Logan’s feelings develop as he got to know Veronica, and we also got to watch Veronica lower her guard and give in to her instinct when Logan first kissed her. For years, their lives after the show ended were always open-ended, but no longer: now, we have a movie.

 

 

Michael Scott / Holly Flax

The Office

Poor Michael was always so desperate to be in love that he seemed like the type of person who would either marry a horrible person (like Jan) or would stay single forever. Enter Holly Flax, a bigger dork that Michael, with a bigger heart than even Pam Beesly. I cried when Michael proposed, and I couldn’t even watch his last episode until last year, but it helps to know that he’s out there somewhere, happily married and probably talking with Holly in their Yoda voices as you read this.

 

 

Mindy Lahiri / Danny Castellano

The Mindy Project

IT HAPPENED. IT FINALLY HAPPENED. It was much sooner than I would’ve thought, and so passionate, and so perfect that I’m afraid to expect a happily-ever-after. Danny said it himself: Mindy forces him to be the best version of himself, and that, among other things, is what he values so much in her. I never thought two characters with such passion about such different things would be a good match, but somehow, Mindy and Danny always seem to find middle ground. Watching them claw to that middle ground is always the best part.

 

 

Miranda / Gary Preston

BBC Miranda

The great thing about this relationship is that the feelings are always there. Gary clearly has the same feelings for Miranda that she has for him, but he’s afraid of commitment and of being tied down. Miranda’s kind of the same way, but with trust issues as well (which is why she took his secret marriage so badly) and a deeply ingrained fear that she will eventually drive him away. If they can work to overcome their insecurities, they’ll be an amazing couple — they’re both quirky in the same way, and ugh, they’re an utter delight to watch.

 

 

Oliver Queen / Felicity Smoak

Arrow

This is a relationship that I’m happy to watch for the slow burn. I might even be okay if they never get together, it depends on how the writing goes over the next couple of seasons. Their scenes are always so emotionally charged and riddled with nuance that no matter who Oliver sleeps with or who Felicity dates, the audience will always know that the bond between them is the deepest of any on the show. As long as that stays the same, I’ll always be a fan.

 

 

Richard Cypher / Kahlan Amnell

Legend of the Seeker

The show was cheesy, the story was always bordering on melodramatic, and yet somehow, these two always made the show worth watching. Of all of the ships on this list, I don’t think any of them come close to the chemistry between Bridget Regan and Craig Horner.

 

  

Ted Crisp / Veronica Palmer

Better Off Ted

I rewatch this show at least once a year, because it’s funny and I often forget a lot of hilarious scenes. One thing that has never changed is how much I love Ted and Veronica’s interactions. Veronica often confided in Ted, and Ted often went to Veronica for advice. They had a quirky friendship that ran deeper than the clipped voices and sarcasm they often shared. They slept together early on, but it’s never revisited in the two seasons before it was tragically cancelled. Instead, Ted convinced himself he had feelings for Linda, which was a pairing I never understood. (Sorry, Ted/Linda shippers… if any of you exist…)

 

 

Ted Mosby / The Mother

How I Met Your Mother

I still don’t know her name, but I do know I love her ukelele rendition of “La Vie en Rose.” I know that she makes her breakfast food sing showtunes, and that she really does do those robot paintings that Ted talked about. I know she makes Ted ridiculously happy and that she agrees to name her kids Penny and Luke. I know that it only took 22 mintues of “How Your Mother Met Me” for me to love her as much as any of the main cast (and more than I love Lily). And I also know that as it stands right now, Ted doesn’t deserve her… but I hope in the handful of episodes that remain, that he redeems himself enough to be worthy of the awesomeness that is The Mother.

Happy Valentine’s Day!