‘Suits’: S09.E09. “Thunder Away”
Mike Ross returns to help the firm take down Faye Richardson.
Did you catch the serie's penultimate episode? It’s the perfect setup for the series finale.
Harvey Specter's (Gabriel Macht) families, both his personal and professional families, are falling apart as Suits nears the end. At the close of the previous episode, Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty) had the unenviable task of delivering the sad news to Harvey that his mother, Lily (Brynn Thayer), had died of a heart attack.
The Robert Duncan McNeill directed episode "Thunder Away" opened with a flashback scene featuring one of Harvey’s little league games. After an argument between the young Harvey (Jack Bona) and his mother, and his father not being at the game, the scene transitions to Lily’s funeral.
Even though Harvey recognises it was his father that got him into playing baseball, it was really Lily that supported him through everything. It was Lily that took Harvey to all the practices and the games, not his father.
"She was always there, even when I thought she wasn't," Harvey says. "She used to tell me that none of us were perfect, that we all made mistakes, but she always owned hers. She taught us about right and wrong and forgiveness."
As Harvey delivers the eulogy at his mother’s funeral, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) shows up to pay his respects. Despite Mike now living in Seattle, because this is the kind of thing one does for real friends, he made the trip back to New York for the funeral.
Donna, determined to keep the law firm together by putting Faye Richardson (Denise Crosby) out on her ear, asks Mike if he’s prepared to forgive Samantha Wheeler (Katherine Heigl) for what she did so that they could work together. Like a lot of plans we have seen in episodes throughout the years, this one is no different. Faye develops a plan of her own. Will Harvey and Mike’s friendship survive what’s coming? And before the episode is done, with Faye taking another stroke at the firm, there is another firing.
When we see Mike join Harvey at the wake, it’s clear the two men have left the past in the past.
"Don’t worry about it,” Harvey said. "You being here says everything."
Shortly after, when Mike and Donna are alone, she asks if he’s willing to forgive anyone else.
“You’ve obviously forgiven Harvey for what happened on that case,” Donna said to Mike. “But the question is can you forgive everyone?”
Mike buries the hatchet with Samantha. The beginnings of a plan are in motion.
"What could be better than watching the woman who's been making our lives miserable finally get what's coming to her?" Donna said to Harvey.
When Mike and Samantha walk into Faye’s office, it doesn’t take long for us to figure out what’s going on. Samantha is Mike’s new client, and she’s suing Faye for wrongful termination.
Samantha’s firing was based more on a belief than it was any hard proof of wrongdoing. Instead of providing proof Samantha fabricated evidence, Faye simply fired Samantha based on a hunch. Samantha correctly observes Faye has been playing "judge, jury, and executioner" ever since she got to the firm. The only possible way for Faye to get herself out of the mess she’s in is to find competent representation. Where in the world could Faye find attorneys willing to represent her?
Faye looks to Harvey and Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) to represent her interests. Naturally, neither Harvey nor Louis have any desire to represent the woman they’re trying to get rid of. The deal Faye comes up with is simple. Harvey and Louis win the case for her, and she’ll leave the firm. The caveat to the deal is that neither Harvey nor Louis can tell the opposing side of the agreement.
Because Harvey doesn’t keep anything from Donna, he refuses to not keep her in the loop. Donna being Donna, she goes to Alex Williams (Dulé Hill) and fills him in with what’s happening. She wants to know if Faye has the power to take the firm down.
“The woman is a lot of things,” Alex tells Donna. “But a liar isn’t one of them.”
Donna, without ambiguity, expresses her true feeling towards Faye. Faye is “the real cancer” at the law firm. "And if you hurt Harvey more than he's been hurt, mark my words, I'll be the one coming for you next," Danna warns the special master.
When Mike and Samantha discover Harvey and Louis are representing Faye, they are understandably upset their friends are representing the woman they’re trying to rid the firm of. It’s even more difficult for them to accept when they learn it isn’t a move to help them.
Harvey references the bylaws for the firm.
“She didn’t need evidence, because our bylaws say that the managing partner can terminate anyone, for any reason, without cause,” Harvey said to the judge.
The judge is obviously interested in seeing proof of what Harvey stipulated. With the judge having seen the bylaw, she was about to rule in Faye’s favour. Did Harvey and Louis forget Mike has an eidetic memory?
“The bylaw you just entered was from page 72 paragraph three,” Mike countered, “but nine paragraphs down in a section he conveniently didn’t bring, it clearly states that any managing partner not ratified by a vote is to be deemed acting, and does not have certain rights including specifically termination without cause.”
Mike essentially pulls the rug from under the argument Harvey and Louis presented to the judge. Louis’ facial expression shows he knows Mike understands fully the bylaws and can quote them verbatim.
Louis offers Samantha a settlement offer, one which Mike later suggests she consider. Do not think for one second that Mike is not at the top of his game. He knows exactly what he’s doing. The consideration Mike suggested only went as far as proposing a counter-deal. He’s hopeful it would lead to information which would get them what they want.
Faye’s facial expression when she confronted Harvey and Louis about the settlement offer was priceless. She wasn’t happy. Faye doesn’t want the lawyers to find a way out of going to court. She wants them to win. Consequently, Harvey insists they hold a mock trial in the firm to determine whether Faye is ready for what’s coming.
Just in time for the mock trial, Alex finds pertinent information which sheds light on Faye’s personal employment history. She dismantled a firm before, but not before firing one of its attorneys. Subsequently, because of this firing, she was sued for wrongful termination.
With the information in hand, Harvey questions Faye about the law firm, the firing and her being sued. Faye claims this incident has no relevance to the Samantha Wheeler case. Harvey doesn’t agree. He believes it has relevance because Faye fired Samantha for the same reason.
"From the second you got here, you hated what everyone here stood for," Harvey tells Faye. "You are a bitter, vindictive human being, and every single person in this firm hates you."
Faye, refusing to sit through any more of the mock trial, leaves the room. Later, Harvey tells Faye he was only trying to prepare her for what was coming. He reminds her that she’s been taking shots at him since day one and he doesn’t like the way she’s been treating Louis.
"When you stripped him of his title, you almost cost this firm the best lawyer it's ever had," Harvey says. "You come after someone I love, you're going to get it back like you've never seen before."
This is the kind of commitment Faye wants to see from her attorneys in court—and that’s exactly what she sees, but not from Harvey. It comes from Louis. Louis’ performance in court is exemplary. He goes after Samantha with everything he’s got. He wants to make the jury hate Samantha. Does it work?
Katrina Bennett (Amanda Schull), when she approaches Louis in his office, wants to know what it is he has against Samantha because she thought they were friends. Louis wants to tell Katrina what’s going on, but as he begins to saying something, Harvey enters the office.
Because of the way Louis treats Samantha in court, she is naturally angry. With a plan formulating in his mind, Mike wants Samantha to use that anger against Faye in court the next day. And when an unexpected guest knocks on the door, Mike suspects that it’s someone with valuable information.
In court, Mike and Samantha use the past lawsuit for wrongful termination to their advantage against Faye. As the questions fly in her direction, Faye glares at Harvey and Louis. After Samantha quotes Harvey’s line about everyone at the firm hating her, Faye thinks he and Louis are responsible for leaking information to Mike and Samantha. Faye didn’t list a reason for firing Samantha because, if asked, she couldn’t back it up. It was just her opinion. Mike wonders who deserves to be fired? Is it the lawyer who wins cases and has friends or the one who lied about the reason she fired his client?
Faye lashes out at both Harvey and Louis, because she believes that they were responsible for Mike and Samantha having the information they did. The special master orders them to prove Samantha fabricated evidence so that she could win against Mike.
Neither Harvey nor Louis were responsible for Mike and Samantha having access to what was said at the mock trial. Faye doesn’t seem to care. She wants Harvey and Louis to win. Harvey knows Mike is smart enough to let him and Louis ask all the questions they need answering, but will he go for it. Will Samantha allow it?
Until Katrina comes forwards, Harvey and Louis suspect it was Alex that supplied Mike and Samantha with the information. Katrina, by giving Harvey and Louis plausible deniability, wanted to help Samantha win against Faye. Harvey is understandably upset by what Katrina did, but she wasn’t aware of the deal.
Katrina, in believing Faye would be as forgiving as she was with Susan Carter (Alison Louder), tries to explain to the special master why she sided with Mike and Samantha. Unfortunately for Katrina, there is no second chance. Faye fires Katrina for colluding with Mike and Samantha against her own firm.
Elsewhere, Donna pays a visit to Mike. Instead of filling him in on the happenings at the firm, Donna is there to seek Mike’s help as a friend. Harvey, with the death of his mother not long past, needs a friend. That friend should be Mike.
While Harvey and Mike initially joke about old times and the possibility of Harvey working for Mike as either an associate or junior partner, there is a bombshell not even Donna saw coming. Harvey presents Mike with a subpoena. He’s putting Mike on the stand.