“You can’t have it both ways.”
This phrase is said both by Harvey and to him on two separate occasions in “Moot Point.” It’s an obvious theme for this episode, but more and more as this season goes on, it feels as if it is becoming a larger theme for the show as a whole. Harvey can’t have it both ways with Scottie; he can’t be her supportive boyfriend and her boss. Louis can’t have it both ways with Harvey; he can’t be Harvey’s friend and be Harvey’s beholder. And, as he’s finally actually realizing, Mike can’t have it both ways at Pearson Specter; he can’t be an integral part of high-profile cases and still keep his secret hidden.
Considering the amount of time everyone spends hiding Mike’s secret from others within the firm, it’s surprising that this is one of the only times the fact that it’s extremely difficult to keep the secret from those outside of the firm has come up. Pearson Specter is an elite law firm with huge clients; eventually, Mike’s involvement with one of these cases was going to get notice in the press. That Jessica has to make it implicitly clear to Mike that this will be something that will happen forever—a statement that appears to make Mike realize he can never really be much more than the associate he currently is—seems like it should have been obvious to him all along. It’s as if his secret is his prison, and even though he has people surrounding him who accept it, he has no idea how to actually get free.
After taking last week off, this is Scottie’s official introduction into Pearson Specter, and it’s a bit of a puzzling one. She starts out at the firm by immediately picking a fight with Louis and stealing one of his cases. Her reasoning? She wants to beat the biggest, baddest lawyer at the firm so people will see her as powerful instead of just Harvey Specter’s Girlfriend. It’s a bit baffling, simply because it seems so incredibly unnecessary and mean-spirited; is the only way to prove yourself at a big law firm really to take power from one of your fellow lawyers? It’s also a bit frustrating because Scottie is clearly the aggressor here, and yet everyone keeps telling Louis that he’s the one who should back off and let Scottie take his client so he doesn’t make yet another enemy in the firm. It’s as if he’s being unreasonable in the circumstance and Scottie is being completely on the up-and-up. The whole thing just sort of makes everyone look like an asshole, which is something Suits is admirably willing to do on a regular basis. The question is, does Suits make its characters assholes too frequently? Who is supposed to be seen as the winner here?
In the end, Louis goes to Harvey to beg him to force Scottie to give the case back, cashing in his return favor for what he did for Mike last week. Scottie sees it as a betrayal, as Harvey using his power as her boss without telling her why. If only Scottie knew that knowing why would only put her in the same world of hurt everyone who knows Mike’s secret is in (including Mike).
The other big story here trades a bit on what we learned last week about Harvey and his law school professor. It seems there’s a fellow Harvard law student who beat Harvey at Moot Court three years in a row and has been ducking arguing against him in the real world ever since. The entire thing is one giant dick-shaking contest, as Suits is so fond of doing. It’s mostly entertaining, too, if you forget how weird and gross and obsessive it is for Harvey to need to beat this guy, this guy who beat him at a fake trial. In school. Harvey’s obsessive need to win is kind of sad, when you sit back and think about it, but it’s also presented as the reason Harvey is such a good lawyer, and the one thing he has most in common with Mike, Jessica, and even Louis. This is a firm full of people obsessed with winning, obsessed with the chase of perfection, and damn the consequences. It turns out this time Harvey is completely right in wanting to take his rival down—the whole case is a sham for him to help the company he is representing steal proprietary information from Harvey’s client—but does that make Harvey’s attitude toward the whole thing palatable?
Questions like these are forever what is keeping me just at an arm’s length from Suits this entire third season. This is a snappy, fast-paced, slick ride, but as it goes on the moral decay surrounding this gorgeous trapping becomes harder and harder to ignore.
- Mike and Rachel’s apartment is amazing. Give me that window, please. I’ll take good care of it.
- I don’t understand Donna sticking up for Scottie every week. It seems like they just want Donna hanging around commenting about Scottie to various people every episode so we don’t forget about the fact that Donna and Harvey totally had sex that one time, and she might have residual feelings about it.
- Katrina still exists! She still sort of serves no purpose! The Litt Up joke callback was amusing, though.