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Thoughts on character evolution on this season's Suits

Ok, this was originally the watch party post for Suits that I posted earlier tonight, but I've had some thoughts a'brewing for a couple of weeks, and tonight's episode made some of them come to a head. I wrote the following in response to Katie (below in the comments) and am reposting (and bumping) here. Anyone else want to weigh in? Spoilers ahead.

Donna's character is the only one who has stayed true to the principles of her character. Harvey has, too, for the most part, but his "losing" Mike is making him change a bit. But his changes are part of a character transformation that makes sense. But aside from that... I am angry at everyone! (Mostly what the writers are forcing everyone's characters to do).

First, there's Mike. He's becoming a bigger, unethical asshole. I mean, yeah, obviously he's not afraid to break rules (hello, pretending to be a lawyer), but he still had a personal moral compass. This season he's PRETENDING to still have his moral compass (all that bullshit about not selling out that old man and his company) while totally abandoning his ethics to keep that promise. At least in tonight's episode he finally admitted out loud that that's exactly what he's doing.

Then there's Rachel. You're right... she's totally going to sleep with that guy. I was almost surprised when she pulled away from that kiss at the last moment. But between the tension that has been simmering between her and Mike, and this guy being all suave and still all up on her bones... I totally feel like they're gonna pull the same bullshit "weak woman" schtick with her and make her cave. (I'll talk more about this in a sec in relation to Jessica). And as an aside... I think the writers are slowly writing their way towards having something similar happen between Mike and his assistant. He already has a history of being attracted to "the help" (his best friend's/co-drug dealer's ex girlfriend, Rachel, etc).

Then Louis. At first glance, it still looks like Louis is being typical Louis. Strangely obsessed with weird things, constantly seeking validation from people he admires, kick ass at his actual job skills, and deeply sensitive despite his facade of bravado. But... this episode clearly spelled out exactly what I dislike about what they're doing to his character. In the scene where Harvey (after being prompted by Donna) goes to tell Louis he's done a good job, even though they're still losing with Mike, and Louis admits he fucked up by seeding the idea Mike used for leverage, Louis says something important. He says he's emotional, while Harvey is cold. And he says he keeps being hated for being emotional, while Harvey keeps raking in the love and adulation despite being a cold-hearted bastard. I mean, Louis is absolutely wrecked while he's saying this. It's a testament to Rick Hoffman's acting ability how well he pulled off a sense of falling apart desperation and drowning depression, practically pleading with Harvey for... something, (mercy, maybe?) not even he knows what, quite, in just those couple of lines. But what makes me mad is the trope. The tired trope that gets used over and over again: that men who emote, men who are open with their feelings, or risk being vulnerable with their emotions are weaker, unsuccessful, and destined to fail. And Harvey's reactions to Louis' professional failures in this episode totally reinforce this idea. Harvey is the successful "alpha male" (I want to vomit even using that kind of PUA term, but that's essentially how they're very obviously painting him this season... I mean yes, he is handsome and successful, always has been in this show, but they're really pouring on the stereotypes this season). I mean, yeah, Harvey had more than enough reason to blow a gasket at Louis for falling for Mike's photoshop trick, but in what other season has he ever gone THAT far in anger against someone? Just once... and that was someone who could take it and dish it back.

Finally, there's Jeff and Jessica. I'm putting them together in the same paragraph because my problems with the two of them are inseparable. Jeff pisses me off because he constantly oversteps his position. The firm is called Pearson Specter, yet he constantly disrespects both Harvey's and Jessica's authority. He's not a named partner, yet he takes liberties that others with more seniority, like Louis, would never be able to get away with. And how does that tie into Jessica? Because he undermines every facet of her being. He undermines her as a woman, he undermines her as his boss, and he undermines her as both a WOC and the only woman (in the Suits universe) to be a named partner of a firm in NYC. Jessica even says as much in an episode. When she's deciding whether or not to continue her relationship with him or hire him, he keeps insisting she should do both. She keeps telling him no, and he keeps pushing it, insisting she can do both. He doesn't respect her boundaries. She flat out tells him that she's the only woman, and woman of color to head a firm in NYC, and that as such, she faces more scrutiny than any other named partner of any other firm. And it's so fucking true! And surely, as a POC himself, Jeff should have some fucking inkling of the kind of up hill double standard that's placed upon minorities. Yet still he insists on ignoring the boundaries she sets. He "agrees" finally, that their relationship will be all business, but at every fucking opportunity, refers to her in the diminutive (Jess versus Jessica, like everyone else calls her), makes some sort of sexual comment, or tries to maneuver her into dinner or working with him alone. And finally, in tonight's episode, he spews some bullshit about how he lied to her professionally, but he would never lie to her "man to woman,"and then all of a sudden that line makes her proverbial panties drop and she shows up at his house with some redbox movies. Like, WTF, Jessica? Her character has ALWAYS been unabashedly strong, independent, opinionated, and smart. And all of a sudden, now her character is falling into the same "weak woman" shit that's happening with Rachel and with Louis.

Argh! I love Suits, but these issues have been increasingly bothering me as they've become more and more pronounced. I'll still watch because I love Gabriel Macht, and Gina Torres, and everyone else, but I hope the writers get their shit back together again soon.


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