After being taken down several pegs, Pearson Specter Litt looks like it might actually have a shot to rebuild and Mike finally uses his intelligence to get the upper hand on Frank Gallo. Instead of revelling in the past, the characters ultimately decide to look to the future.
Thanks to Louis, the firm is finally filled with bodies again, giving the appearance that their offices are still fully functional. Louis is reluctant to lease out the bullpen, one of the many spaces in the firm he holds sacred, the partners kitchen being the other. Donna suggests that Louis looks to sublet the offices to older accounting firms and promises to assist him in his next meeting, as Louis naturally gets a little too “Litt Up” in his earlier meetings. Their exchange is typical of classic Donna/Louis:
“What makes you think I’ll shit the bed?”
“Every conversation we’ve ever had, including this one.”
Louis eventually makes the decision without Donna, subletting to a firm of online traders and hurting Donna in the process. Although Donna does revel in being catty to Louis throughout the episode, she initially does seem angry that Louis doesn’t consider her to be as integral to the firm as he is. Donna’s character does often seem to get shafted, mostly relegated to being Harvey’s conscience rather than the fully-formed person the series is capable of making her.
Naturally, Louis’ choice also backfires, because the team of traders are all boisterous, aggressive young men who throw out Louis’ prune juice and eat all of his bran bars. It’s a strange dichotomy to alternate between dramatic prison scenes and Louis’ petty vendettas, but it’s understandable that Suits needs to draw levity from somewhere, particularly after a gloomy fifth season.
Harvey spends the episode simultaneously fearing for Mike’s safety and chasing after an asshole client so he doesn’t have to get into business with a criminal one. Harvey’s desire to start over the right way is admirable, particularly for a man whom regularly attests that he prefers to work in grey areas. Harvey’s moral compass has grown considerably, ironically because he aided a fraud. For the sake of those remaining at the firm, he doesn’t want to repeat his mistakes.
‘Back on the Map’ also gives us a glimpse of Rachel in law school, something we have heard about since the fourth season, but are yet to witness firsthand. Word has spread of Mike’s fraud charges to Rachel’s classmates and they have no qualms about using it against her in mock debate to undermine her credibility. Rachel’s professor offers her the chance to work with him in acquitting a man on death row in place of taking the ethics class, only she doesn’t want to appear weak. Not wanting to appear weak is another trait that Jessica shares, so Rachel logically goes to her for advice. The mentoring that is happening between Jessica and Rachel is becoming a real highlight of the series and services both characters in really interesting ways. Rachel has played the “love interest” for five years now and it’s tired. Being Jessica’s mentee is a far more compelling direction for her.
Back in prison, Mike appears to have made a genuine friend in his cellmate, Kevin. Mike might not have the capacity to survive prison on his own, as he has always needed a partner in crime, whether it be Harvey or Trevor from way back. It makes sense that he would latch onto Kevin. Unfortunately, Mike and Kevin can’t protect each other at all hours of the day so Kevin suffers a serious beating at the hands of Frank and his gang.
Harvey learns from Sean Cahill that Frank is an informant and shares the information with Mike, hoping he’ll spread it throughout the prison. Instead, Mike wisely uses the information to blackmail Frank into leaving him and Kevin alone, and the scene is reminiscent of all the times Mike has one-upped opposing council behind the closed doors of Pearson Specter Litt.
That same fire has been absent from the first two episodes; it’s great to have it back.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10