This week, Suits does a flashback episode to a time long ago. Specifically, five years ago. It’s a tightly written, greatly paced episode that fleshes out what we already knew but gives enough emotional punch to make it truly memorable.

Five Years Ago

Harvey is an associate partner at the firm, working flawlessly with Donna as expected. They continue to be as adorable as they are today. By the way, Donna is great at doing a cross-eyed face. Enter Jessica, then second-in-command, with an inner office conundrum: someone is embezzling from the clients and therefore the firm. Harvey, being Harvey, makes a bid for partner in exchange for discreetly investigating. Any of this sound familiar? Because this is the setup to the backstory that’s been hinted at all season.

Meanwhile, Mike is not as down on his luck as he was in the pilot, but it is a callback to a Mike who doesn’t wear suits or have cute, male-mentorship jargon with Harvey. Instead, it is the Mike who smokes a lot of pot and hangs out with Trevor. Oh, and adorably he is a bike messenger.

This is the beginning of the story of how Mike and Harvey got to where they were before the pilot. Well, the beginning steps to how we saw them in the pilot.

How Mike Got to the Pilot

Now, Mike’s journey from genius slacker to lawyer prodigy is one we’ve pretty much pieced together already. We learn very little new about him, but Mike’s the second lead and he needs flashbacks too and everybody likes Mike, okay? Okay.

Mike and Trevor people-watch at a bar when everyone’s maybe favorite girl Jenny (I’m not sure what the fan consensus is on Jenny) pops up with a pretty, rich friend, Nikki. After some flirting, some cute meets, Trevor pimps up his boy: Mike is a genius! Mike tests his genius, which would be amazing if I haven’t seen it every episode since the pilot.

But this is how he got to the pilot, so of course other people would be ah-mahzed. Particularly, Jenny and Mike show some impressive sparkage while Trevor looks on with crazy eyes.

We don’t have to speculate how that turned out: Trevor snakes Mike’s girl (and then we get a whole first season of confusing moments between the three of them). But whatever. Mike is taking Jenny’s friend out on a date as a consolation prize. Now that I’m in my 20s, I’m told by TV that happens — something to look forward to!

Again, Nikki’s impressed by Mike’s genius, enough so to offer him money to take her LSATs. Mike the Moral Compass initially refuses. But, when his Grandma needs full time care he shows some of that future litigator prowess: $5,000 for taking the test and taking it while high. His ‘bestest friend’ Trevor is also stepping up his game as a fortified drug dealer. I wonder if we’ll ever get anymore flashbacks to where it all went wrong. Oh wait, that was season 1!

How Harvey Got to the Pilot

Harvey is on a mission to become a partner and after talking to Louis, who is still desperate to be appreciated and admired enough to wear braces on his teeth, concludes it must be an idiot like Louis Litt. Who else would spend $15,000 on braces? (Not my parents…)

So Jessica, taking initiative, is going to crack Louis down the way Jessica does: with some accusations until he fesses up. The worst of Louis’ crimes? Perhaps that he still had a MySpace profile in 2007. Seriously, you know it was uncool then because Louis Litt had one then. Or on a creepier level, that he fell asleep on the couch in Jessica’s office.

Jessica’s pissed (her default emotion with Harvey) at Harvey for what she feels is a less-than-stellar job. What-Would-Harvey-Do to redeem himself? Discreetly enlist Louis Litt, who calls Harvey “H-dog.” Of course Louis is excited to be included and calls himself a smuck. “You mean a schmuck.” He doesn’t know the word schmuck which makes him one! I see what you did there writers! Louis Britta’d schmuck!

With Louis’ help, Harvey correctly concludes Hardman is embezzling money from different accounts. Eager to defend the man that helped her rise up through the glass ceiling, Jessica confronts Hardman and softens on him when Hardman reveals his wife is dying of cancer. Again, anyone who has watched this season knows this bit of information.

Jessica defends Hardman. But Harvey is a cold son of a gun for demanding she fulfill her end of the deal after she insists Hardman is taking his wife to treatments on Tuesdays. Donna proves her usefulness once more, because she connects the dots for Harvey.

At a high-end hotel room, Harvey confronts Hardman and Monica Eaton (the pretty lawyer who Louis was crushin’ on) for being cold-hearted people. Harvey comes out better in the cold-hearted camp, mostly because who cheats on their dying wife? Hardman signs for resignation; Jessica fires Monica Eaton, but Monica threatens to sue for wrongful termination.

Uh, excuse me Monica, but didn’t you have an affair with the guy embezzling from the firm? Maybe it was better Monica was let go in the long run for the firm. In the present, Mike meets with Monica Eaton because of her failed $10-million suit five years ago. It’s a public meeting.

So we know all of this for the most par t– it has been explained all season. What wasn’t explained?

Donna breaks the news to Harvey that his dad had a heart attack. He’s quietly devastated in front of Donna. One of the other co-workers criticizes Harvey for not mourning his father, but he chose the firm over his father.

So it is rather a beautiful end that in the present, Harvey is taking a train ride to a distant land to his father’s grave. He toasts to his father with shots and finally begins to mourn.

Fun Thoughts

– I feel like the music supervisor stole my iPhone and ransacked important songs for it. Junip’s ‘Without You’ on the train is what I listen to on the train so my theory seems solid.

– Obviously, Mike and Harvey pass by one another years before and instantly dislike one another. That’s a given on any show that does a flashback before the characters have met each other.

– Donna literally knows everything — like that Rachel’s father is a partner at some firm. But she doesn’t know that Monica Eaton is Hardman’s mistress?

– Elsewhere in the present, Louis tattle-tales to Hardman that Jessica’s making a move. It looks like Louis will be a key player in the battle for the firm these next few weeks.

– My headings for the articles are a play on Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, which also has a flashback structure.

– 2007= the year of bad, blunt bangs

What did you think of Suits‘ flashback episode?

Emily E. Steck
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of USA)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV