Suits slows things down for its season six premiere, allowing the characters to breathe and take stock in an episode that is consistently entertaining throughout.
Suits has a tendency to hit the ground running and focus too heavily on a sudden betrayal, a surprise reveal, or a new antagonist. Occasionally this will work to the series’ benefit, season two’s introduction of Daniel Hardman and the ripple effects of his behaviour being a prime example. Other times, the series will offer too much screen time to characters we aren’t particularly invested in, Ava Hessington (sorry Catelyn Stark), Charles Forstman and Sean Cahill to name a few.
The premiere wisely chooses to contain its events to one night, narrowing in on the core six, with the delightful addition of Benjamin, the firm’s tech whiz. In the aftermath of Mike’s sentence, the episode splits into two storylines ““ Mike’s first night in prison and the remaining Pearson Specter Litt employees trying to salvage what is left of their crumbling firm.
Mike’s night in prison plays out rather predictably as he befriends his new cellmate, Frank Gallo (Paul Schulze), who warns him right away that he shouldn’t trust anyone on prison. The biggest issue with Mike’s prison scenes is that in order for his story to move forward and also tie back to Harvey, he has to be unbelievably naÃ¯ve. It’s difficult to believe that Mike would so quickly confess his crime to a complete stranger on his first night in prison. It just so happens that Frank was put in prison by Harvey years ago, and just like that, Mike has made what is sure to be his first of many blunders in prison. Mike is the Piper Chapman of male white collar criminals and it will be interesting to see just how much of Mike’s time in prison will be incorporated into the series moving forward.
Over at the firm, Harvey, Louis and Jessica are served with a class action suit for every one of Mike’s cases. In addition to all partners, associates and secretaries fleeing the firm, it only makes sense that there would be immediate legal consequences for the name partners too. Louis’ initial gut reaction is naturally to blame Harvey, who retaliates just as quickly as they both resort to drudging up wounds from the recent past; Louis using Mike’s secret to blackmail the firm into making him a name partner and Harvey having panic attacks when Donna left him to work for Louis. Surprisingly, it’s Rachel who diffuses the situation and points out that she is the real injured party because her fiancÃ©e went to prison so neither of them had to. It takes some coaxing and a firm hand from Donna, but Harvey agrees to spend the night at the firm to determine a plan to salvage their business.
This is where the episode trades in some drama for some much needed levity. Jessica and Harvey decide that the best course of action is to get high with Louis if they are ever going to formulate a new game plan. Not only are we given the gift of Louis’ face covered in Norma’s ashes, but in the same episode we are given a stoned Jessica, and what a fabulous sight it is to see her lounging around on office furniture like she owns the place. Which, let’s face it, she totally does. Jessica is the real MVP of this episode. As enjoyable as it is watching her take down her enemies and dole out threats, she is far more dynamic when she starts to shed those steely layers.
Jessica shares a great scene with Rachel as she talks about her time as an associate and the type of role a woman has to play in a law firm if she wants to succeed on her own merits. Women have to be smarter, tougher, and Jessica fears that her “cold” behaviour is what pushed her employees to abandon her. Rachel reminds her that she does care and swears her loyalty to Jessica. It’s a scene that couldn’t have happened between Jessica and Harvey or even Rachel and Harvey. Jessica and Rachel have a lot in common, not just the fact that they are women trying to succeed in a male-dominated field. It is always wonderful when Suits takes time to acknowledge this. Pearson Zane for 2020, please.
Suits loves to shake up the status quo, but also has a nasty habit of returning to the same formula after five or six episodes. Based solely on the premiere, season six looks like it has the capacity to break this pattern and return to form.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10