Harvey and Hardman are matched up and begin the delicate art of lawyer boxing, Rachel remembers she has a life outside Mike and Louis must come to terms with the fact that his associates are only the second unhappiest bunch in New York. To which he replies, "Only second?" Oh, Louis!
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Mike returns home to find his grandmother already there for dinner, which he had forgotten. For someone so smart, I find it very implausible the dude would forget the day of the week.
At a daily meeting, Jessica gives a welcome to Hardman. Hardman makes the point that he isn't usurping Jessica, but he just keeps interrupting her. Clearly, this man is seeking back the power he originally had as founding partner.
Meanwhile, Donna is the runner between Mike and Rachel. Apparently, it's still very awkward since Mike had to dump Rachel before he even started dating her. Luckily, he doesn't have to work with her much this episode. Because he and Harvey are working on the Prescott Hospital case!
I still love those credits.
Harvey throws some pro bono case at Hardman to keep him distracted, but Hardman insists on overseeing the Prescott Hospital case. Side: do you think anyone is going to help that kid? I sometimes feel strong emotional attachments to tertiary characters. Will it be a future case? Will Mike still go through with it on the side?
Prescott Hospital is tanking like the rest of hospitals these days, and now they must contend with potential striker nurses. Nell, the nurses' representative, reject their initial proposal after chewing out the last five negotiators. Nell happens to be played by Emmy-winner Margo Martindale, so I believe it (yay Mags!).
This is Hardman's first case back at the firm. Harvey isn't one to be intimidated. This is a pure boxing match that is as much about egos as it is about the firm (because it is never about the clients). So naturally, Hardman must one-up Harvey by rescheduling the hearing; a solid blow to the face. Hardman shuts down the nurse protest for 48 hours but Harvey throws a right hook by replacing it with the original offer. Round One is a win for Harvey!
A neutral party is needed, so each boxer tag teams Mike in to do the work they cannot (the metaphor's losing steam--have faith in me!). After pissing off the nurses, Mike can be the Switzerland needed to identify what will make the nurses settle since the ego match between Hardman and Harvey drove that away.
Being such a softie, Mike uses his grandmother (with her consent, duh). Here, he learns that nurses just want to get paid for being understaffed and working overtime. Mike does the math: the nurses can get the money because they don't want to work more than 15 hour shifts. I will go on record and say I love nurses. Nurses rock. I really hope the lawyers do not screw them over ... I've just screwed them, haven't I? Round Two is a win for Hardman via surrogate Mike!
During Round Two, tag-team player Mike has some quality bonding time as Hardman smokes a cigarette. Because he is the BAD GUY and BAD GUYS smoke cigarettes! Always. Oddly, I find that Mike likes him more because of this little quirk.
Interlude for Two
Donna is actually ah-mazing; she is a consistent delight. So, I'm puzzled as to why she befriends Rachel. Rachel continues to be kinda lame; I assumed last week that everyone loved her because she was the girl the show kept pushing at us to love. This episode, she starts earning some of that love.
Donna cheers Rachel up with happy hour cocktails, but the two end up impersonating their love interests and shall henceforth be known as Harriet Specter and Michelle Ross. Donna is a good Harvey and Rachel is a borderline passable Mike.
Still hung up on Boy Wonder, Rachel contemplates joining an online dating service -- product placement for match.com -- but can't write a single nice thing about herself. Those insecurity issues last week really make more sense now. But then lover boy Mike breezes in to serenade and soothe her and this stupid, meaningless essay question with all of these great things about Rachel. Also, I didn't know Rachel was that awesome. It'd be nice to see such awesomeness.
So here is said awesomeness: Rachel shows up to Mike's place. Rachel concludes that Mike is keeping something from her, but he remains mute until he says it will be his undoing. I wish we would have had this scene last week so Rachel didn't seem so desperate and insecure like she did then. Later, Rachel takes the LSATS. Finally.
Apparently, the associates are the second unhappiest in New York. Ungrateful is a better term; it's called a recession, idiots, and you complain about your high-paid jobs at one of New York's best firms? While their unhappiness is severely lacking for Louis (and any other unemployed person), it worries Harvard University, the premiere establishment from which the firm takes associates.
Sadly, the associates think they do Louis' work for him; that he isn't working hard enough. Louis is the hardest working lawyer at this firm, according to Harvey. I believe it. Like a creepy loser, he replays Harvey's compliment because he records everything. Every time he plays it back, it sounds a little too sexy for Louis to listen to it just because of those words ... Whatever.
Louis gets his associates in charge by telling them how lucky they are to learn from the best. This is one of the few times when I actually hate the tertiary characters on TV. Screw you associates! Shape up! I'm Team Louis! Luckily for Louis, Jessica is too; she's impressed.
Back to Round Three: Knock Out
Inspired by Louis, Harvey dishes a really harsh deal to the nurses: take the original offer or sink. He strong-arms the nurses because they waived any claim to more pay by signing off on staying for hours in which they are not getting paid. Does that make sense? My Lawyer to English translations are murky. Basically, Harvey finds a loophole, exploits it. So he lawyers the situation and leaves Mike and Hardman a little stunned.
Clearly, Harvey sorta wins this round/battle/whatever but wars are not won with small victories but with large ones. This whole office is always playing war. Hardman apologizes for his interruptions earlier, but Jessica is still a Mad Hatter over that tea cart and will punish Hardman for his war crimes. Like any decent politician/great lawyer, Hardman uses the old dead wife excuse for taking the tea set. Guilt em' and you always have time to gain the upper hand! So they knock each other out, really.
Such trickery reminds Harvey to watch out for his young apprentice, enough to inform Mike of Hardman's evil nature. I want to shout that Mike knows! He watched him smoke a cigarette, but my sister gently reminds me they can't hear me. It's been a long week y'all. I'll see you in two weeks!
Emily E. Steck
(Image courtesy of USA)