Where the Suits season premiere took a moment to bask in the immediate aftermath of Mike’s prison sentence, episode two advances the plot in a short time span and works toward setting up the major sources of conflict for the season.
In ‘Accounts Payable,’ Mike is forced to deal with the fallout of blindingly trusting Frank Gallo. Mike’s actual cellmate, Kevin, swaps back with Frank and hopes to justify his actions to Mike, who decides against taking the bait again. However, hot head that he is, Mike can’t help but react to Frank’s taunts and antagonism. He blows up at Frank and effectively ruins an opportunity to see Rachel, after Donna managed to orchestrate visitation for the two of them (the woman is truly wasted as a secretary). For somebody so intelligent, Mike has made some supremely stupid choices on his first few days in prison. Frank even convinces Mike that he made copies of photographs Rachel texted him. How on Earth would he even have access to a photocopier in prison?
Distraught that she can’t visit her fiancé (after a day and a half) Rachel quickly turns to Harvey for answers. Harvey waves off her concerns, while secretly meeting Mike in prison. Mike makes Harvey promise not to go to the warden, but he doesn’t think twice about confronting Frank and near-breaking his finger through the prison fence on his way out. Despite the cool exterior he often projects, Harvey is largely led by impulse, and this is never clearer than when somebody he cares about is in jeopardy. Frank’s threats against Mike feel more amusing than genuine, particularly when he throws about lame phrases like, “ring ring, councillor, ring ring.”
Life over at PSL is almost as grim. It seemed like a stroke of genius last episode when Jessica, Harvey and Louis decided to use the other partners’ buy-ins to pay their debts, except this week they are thwarted by two former adversaries. Jack Soloff makes another return as Jessica discovers that he took his entire department over to Robert Zane’s firm. Jack has never quite behaved like enough of a villain and never had much of a connection to the core characters, but this episode almost redeems his typically flat characterisation. An appearance from Robert Zane is always welcome, as his relationship with Jessica continues to be an intriguing one. They aren’t friends, but they share the same tenacity and mutual respect for one another.
In addition to Jack and Robert, ‘Accounts Payable’ is overstuffed with recurring characters. Sean Cahill makes a brief and unnecessary appearance and Elliot Stemple is back to revel in Harvey’s fall from grace. Patrick Fischler (Stemple) has the most punch-able face on television, yet somehow always manages to be a delight.
The episode’s biggest head scratcher is Stemple’s insistence that Harvey relinquish the duck painting that hangs in his office as a means to clear the firm’s ten million dollar debt. Sure, Stemple wants “a piece of [Harvey],” but for ten million dollars? It’s a little too hard to swallow. Apparently the painting was painted by Harvey’s mother, and it’s the single memory of her that he cherishes. Suits has repeatedly insinuated that Harvey’s mother is the primary source of his emotionally stunted behaviour, so it’s high time that we finally meet her in the present.
The biggest takeaway of the episode: Donna apparently dated a famous African-American singer/rapper in 1996. Are we all secretly holding out hope that it’s Ginuwine and we can have a Parks and Rec crossover with Donna Meagle? Good, I thought so.
THE REEL SCORE: 6/10