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Suits - Skin in the Game - Review: "I'm Not Her"

Hello, Suits fans! We've got a bit of a double-header in recaps today - both recaps for episodes 1 and 2 were posted today, so make sure you're reading the right one! This one covers episode 1, aka the season premiere. Let's jump in, shall we?

Last season on Suits:

Louis got dumped, Harvey’s therapist Paula told him off (in a super unprofessional way), telling him he has “issues in [his] life” that will hinder him from having “real relationships” (great job, super insightful), Donna's software plan fell though and our favorite secretary realized she wanted something “more” out of life than being Harvey’s Girl Friday, Harvey hired Mike back with the condition he would fund his clinic for 2 years, and then Mike demanded that he move into Harvey’s office so that Mr. Specter himself could move into Jessica’s.

Are we all caught up? Good. Let’s do this.

Harvey is driving around a fancy black convertible and ends up at his therapist’s office, where he explains that a lot has changed since he last saw her, he’s in a good place now, oh and by the way, he’s checked the APA and he’s now ethically allowed to date her. She agrees to one date which kind of seems like she’s going against literally everything she decided about him in their sessions together, but whatever.

Mike drops off a hefty check to his buddy Nathan at the clinic he’s leaving behind. He explains that “it’s not you, it's me,” and he wants to stay friends and occasionally work cases together. He says all of this while wearing a suit worth more than the check he just dropped off.

Donna kicks off the season with guns blazing, telling Harvey she’s decided that the “something more” she wants is to be a partner at the firm. She’s sick of keeping the company running from the hall outside of Harvey’s office and she wants a seat at the table. Harvey immediately lists all the reasons why this is a bad idea, but promises he won’t forget about it. Which means he will promptly forget about it, giving Donna and Harvey the thing they’re going to fight about this season.

Mike is making himself comfortable in Harvey’s office because that’s going to be his new office. Harvey laughs at the idea of Mike installing a bike rack (on what wall? everything’s glass), and introduces the case of the week: Neil Stillman, who is going to be their last case together before Harvey steps up into Jessica’s role.

Louis’ secretary Gretchen has a heart-to-heart with the lawyer in which she tries to get him back in the saddle. He explains that while he is heartbroken at losing his chance to be a husband and father, he’s now going to focus on the associates in the office.

The Dream Team (Harvey and Mike) are back together for their goodbye tour, and they show up to a restaurant to meet Neil Stillman, who is an utter delight. (He is not a delight.) He complains that since Jessica left, the firm hasn’t paid attention to him and no one’s returning his calls. His expression exactly matches his whining tone. He starts slinging around vague threats and power words, and the audience gets a taste of how awful Harvey would be if he weren’t charming enough to pull this behavior off.

Mike shuts him down with a quick Rain Man and explains that obviously Stillman is looking to sell his vodka business. Begrudgingly impressed, Stillman agrees and says he needs to do this ASAP because he has the opportunity to buy another company. What’s the new company? “They’re Russian. And they make a little product called ‘none of your [bleep!] business.’” Perfect. I can’t imagine why your lawyers would need this information. He threatens not to keep them as his lawyers if things don't go as he wants. He’s lovely.

Rachel is worried about Louis, and once Gretchen explains he’s focusing on the associates, she becomes worried for them.

Louis struts into the associates’ pit and proudly declares no one is leaving the room until this project is done. A guy asks for two days off (in addition to the weekend) for the birth of his child and the reminder that he’s #foreveralone turns Louis into a terrible, raging manic who insults everyone and everything in the room. Rachel walks in to see the meltdown looking effortlessly beautiful. Like a royal princess, you could say. Anyway.

The Dream Team decides it’s appropriate to throw a party which naturally requires models. This will somehow help sell the vodka company.

Rachel comes to Donna to discuss Louis’ delayed midlife crisis, and Donna casually sits down behind Harvey’s desk like it’s already her own. Rachel breaks the news of the Tara/Louis breakup and says she should take over the associates. Donna points out this is a terrible idea, and Rachel says it’s for everyone’s safety.

Donna accepts this and then explains to the lawyer Louis that he’s about to get sued. He gets ugly and explains to her where she is the pecking order. She puts him in his place and now Rachel is definitely getting the associates.

Harvey dials up his doctor lady friend and literally says, “I’ve been in a room full of models for the last hour and all I can think of is you.” I’m now wondering how gross that line would sound coming from a man that doesn’t have Harvey’s face.

Mike and Rachel joke about the vodka with supermodels party and it’s adorable. Rachel declines his invitation saying she needs to get prepared for taking over the associates.

Back at the office, Gretchen asks Donna what her deal is and the redhead immediately spills her guts about wanting a seat at the table. Gretchen then reminds her about the partnership check that has been a major plot point on this show several times and she’s somehow forgotten about. She needs some “skin in the game."

It’s time for the party, which is on a Manhattan rooftop and is beautiful. Mike is hilariously drunk but somehow still keeps his head in the game. It ends up being a very elaborate set for a 30-second scene.

The next day, Mike is hungover and noticing Harvey hasn’t moved offices yet. They share some banter we’ve been missing while he’s been in prison, tell one another they like each other better when they’re drunk, and say hello to two of the three serious bidders for Stillman’s vodka company. It’s time for them to write down their best bids.

With that play working itself out in the conference room, Harvey returns to his office where Donna is waiting for him in what is basically a short wedding dress. She hands him a check for half a million dollars, and when he admits he’s “been busy” (so rare for him,) she says the check forces him to take her seriously. And then delivers a pretty great Donna monologue which concludes with, “… It is time that you recognize me for what I do.” Harvey looks slightly pained, which is confusing because we literally did all this two seasons ago.

Anyway, on to the date! Harvey is with Paula and he’s distracted. He starts talking about his problems and she shuts that down, saying he doesn’t want to date her, he’s coming to her because he’s in “another crisis.” She launches into a diatribe about how clients always fall for their therapists and then walks him through a somewhat descriptive fantasy she’s had about him before shooting him down, both as a date and a client.

Back at the office, Louis tells Rachel off since she’s in charge of the associates now. He’s not in a good place and Rachel barely makes it through the conversation without crying, which is surprising, since she’s weathered way, way worse without even flinching. But this all serves as a way to get Donna to call Harvey and insist the firm is going to get sued by its own employees because Louis is being terrible - again, something he’s done from Season 1 - and she needs to know NOW if she’s a partner so she has the authority to put him in his place.

And then, via phone call, Harvey just sighs and says, “Okay, Donna. You win. You’re a partner.”

HUH? Did NOT see that coming. And then they both just hang up like that wasn’t a major deal, and Donna has a look on her face like she suddenly realizes she may have bitten off more than she can chew.

Harvey returns to the office, where Mike greets him with the Magical Document that Changes Everything (there’s one every episode), which is so important that Harvey doesn’t have time to talk to an already unstable Louis about the fact that he just promoted his secretary to partner without his knowledge.

So he runs off to see Neil Stillman and we learn that the reason he was selling the vodka company so quickly was because it was being sued for stealing the recipe. Stillman then threatens him if he drops out of the deal - because, you know, fraud - that he'll tell everyone he can’t fill Jessica’s shoes. I don’t see how that’s a legitimate threat, but it seems very dramatic.

Oliver is waiting for Mike in the lobby and yells at him about abandoning “real” causes in favor of making big bucks working for corporations.

Harvey returns to the office to see Mike cleaning out his office. After dropping a bleeped f-bomb (didn’t know USA could do that), he repeats what Stillman just said, which is how is it going to look if they can’t handle stuff now that Jessica’s gone. Mike says, “It’s going to look like you’re afraid and you’re not in charge,” which is 100% accurate, because so far this episode, all Harvey’s done is talk about how he’s in charge while not actually assuming the role.

When Harvey finally admits “I’m not her,” which is apparently his biggest fear, Mike gives him a pep talk reminding him of how awesome he is, while dropping another f-bomb.

Man. A lot going on in this episode.

Harvey goes to Stillman’s vodka distillery, where he tells the man that they halted the sale and explains how their law firm can’t get involved. Suddenly Stillman is listening and Harvey pitches perhaps the most brilliant marketing strategy I’ve ever heard to save his company. Not surprisingly, Stilmman takes the deal.

Donna sees Louis yelling at the dad-to-be again and decides to approach him in the bathroom to address the issue, seeing it a perfect moment to announce her role as senior partner. His reaction is priceless and accurate. She immediately defends her role, explaining that a bunch of partners at major law firms aren’t lawyers, and he continues to explain that he doesn’t care, the associates are his.

Then Harvey shows up and it’s a party in the powder room. He says that Donna deserves the role, and he’s in charge now and they’re releasing a statement and no one better have a problem with that. No one does, but it’s clear already how unfair this arrangement is going to be for Louis since Donna and Harvey tend to be on the same page 99% of the time.

Louis says it’s not how Jessica would have done things, but Harvey reminds him that he’s not Jessica.

I guess those f-bombs really drove Mike’s pep talk home, huh.

Louis goes to Rachel and says she should have the associates for now. Basically, he loves them too much to hurt them. Rachel is family and deserves better than he’s given her. She says he needs closure and his relationship can’t end over a voice mail, which is what Taylor Swift has been saying for years.

Mike’s all moved into his new/Harvey’s old office, and he and Donna have a great moment in which Donna explains she’s a senior partner now, and he says it's about time. Then “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse starts up, and I’m suddenly very excited to see Donna in charge this season.

Montage time: Louis is calling Tara, asking for closure. Donna’s looking out at the skyline and Gretchen congratulates her. Harvey shows up at Paula's to enact the fantasy she described at dinner.

What did everyone think of the episode? Does everyone else feel like yes, Donna deserves recognition, but partner just isn’t realistic? Are you also eagerly awaiting Dule Hill’s appearance? Join the discussion below!