Suits Season 3, Episode 4: "Conflict of Interest" Recap/Review

[Blogger's note: First things first: I cannot find screencaps for this episode or any episode that aired after it ANYWHERE, so I apologize in advance for the lack of photos to break up the walls of text! I don't have Photoshop or any other photo editing software, nor do I have the skills to cap the episodes myself. Plus, capping AND writing these recaps would just take way more time than I have, so until I can find them elsewhere, I have a feeling the Suits recaps will be screencap-free until further notice. Sorry, again!

Secondly, I know I'm still woefully behind on these recaps. I have one last TW recap to write, and two more Suits recaps to write before I'm caught back up! I'll do them as quickly as possible.]

Man, this episode was full of verbal ass-kicking, wasn't it?

If anything, it just proves that Jessica and Harvey really are two sides of the same coin. Louis, too, could fit into that category, but his problems stem more from low-confidence than over-confidence, like Jessica and Harvey, though. Obviously, this is something we've seen since the very beginning, and it's the reason why they've become so tight over the years; Harvey is her protegee, after all, despite whatever Cameron Dennis would like to believe. This is also why they seem to butt heads all the time, especially now--they're both extremely impulsive, especially when facing defeat, the possibility of defeat, when they feel ashamed, or when something happens that appears to damage their reputation or job. They also, like most lawyers, believe that they're always right, and refuse to admit when they're wrong, which usually results in them inadvertently screwing up their case or in some cases, the firm, in order to win. It's kind of a problem.

Unfortunately, they still haven't managed to learn the concept of subtlety, or that sometimes you have to lose (or pretend to lose) to win in the end. It's just like that old "win the battle but lose the war" metaphor--sometimes you have to take a hit to win the game in the end, you know? Plus, it doesn't always have to be a nuclear explosion of a take-down, either-- sometimes you just have to play along until you get an opportunity you can work in your favor. Failure to understand these fairly simple concepts is what always ends up biting them in the ass, as we see in this episode. Take those oversights and add it to the fact that they're all very good at underestimating their opponents, and the result is getting completely blindsided, every time. I really hope they learn from these mistakes, and quickly, because it's getting really painful watching them make the same wrong move, over and over, with worse and worse consequences for their cases, their jobs, and their firm.  Although, I suppose that's part of the point, isn't it?

Whew, well let's recap what happened, shall we?

Previously, on Suits: Cameron Dennis arrested Ava Hessington for conspiracy to commit murder after being tricked into taking a deal that involved pleading guilty to bribery; Katrina tried to ride Harvey's coattails, but was told off by Mike and Donna, and ran straight to Louis as a back up plan; Stephen Huntley, Darby's own version of Harvey, came to town to help Harvey get managing partner, but also grew quite fond of Donna; Cameron Dennis is a snake, and leaked the video of Ava bribing that foreign official to Tony Gianopolis, who is now trying to take Hessington Oil over from her; Ava claimed she's innocent re: these murder charges, but Harvey doesn't agree;  and FINALLY, Harvey reveals to Mike that he's trying to take over the firm from Jessica.

It's very early in the day, and Harvey and Louis are engaging in their respective morning cardio. Harvey is on a run, decked out in black sweats and white earbuds. I didn't think he ever wore anything but suits and tuxes at this point, so this is a nice visual. Meanwhile, Louis is speed-walking, and occasionally runs while he passes cute girls who of course don't notice him at all. They notice Harvey, though, just to drive home the point that Harvey is cool and Louis is not. The former notices the headline, "Hessington Oil Takeover Heats Up" in an obvious Samsung product-placement, just as Louis reads the same headline in the Wall Street Journal he just purchased. No bueno.

Cut to an unknown amount of time later, where the two of them outside the firm as they're about to start work for the day. They each inform the other that they heard the news about Hessington Oil, and exposit that the vote on the new CEO is apparently now in 48 hours. After bragging about how they each "got their shit," they agree to meet in the conference room in five minutes to talk strategy.

Mike and Harvey dramatically enter the conference room through two different doors, and both stop and balk at the fact that Louis isn't alone in waiting for them--Katrina has also joined them. When they establish that Katrina is his new associate, Mike can finally understand the entire reason behind her petty video scheme. "You seem upset that she led you to believe that she was trying to befriend you, when it turned out she was going to betray you," Louis begins, and Harvey cuts him right off, because that's childish as fuck, though mostly accurate. Mike assures them that he gives no fucks, and Katrina cracks, "Because your daddy's here." Harvey still pissed at her from her stunt last week, and asks if she needs another verbal smackdown from him. Louis is puzzled, since he wasn't informed of such a talk, but Katrina simply responds, "I didn't feel the need to run to you to protect me." Mike's like, "Second choice never does," and Harvey cuts this shit right off, because they're at work and thus should actually be WORKING. A startling concept.

Louis is happy to get to business, and states that the first thing on the agenda should be what Ava will say in her statement. Harvey is like, "Uh, she is not saying a word to anyone about anything, because she totally did it and the last thing we need is to give Cameron more ammo than he already has." Katrina thinks the problem is that Ava doesn't appear to be good at her job with all the legal shit going on, but Harvey maintains that, hello, the actual problem is that SHE'S ON TRIAL FOR MURDER.

"And public perception says, she's as guilty as Jean Valjean with a loaf of bread in his pants! And in case you aren't up on current events, we're facing a vote for control over company in two days," Louis snits, but Mike adds that Ava giving a statement this close to trial will make her look desperate. Katrina counters that if she stays quiet, it makes her look dumb as hell and super guilty, so it's kind of a draw. Harvey doesn't give a shit about what anyone else thinks, and ends the debate by saying that this topic is non-negotiable.

Of course, Louis knew Harvey would hate his plan, so he arranged for her interview with the WSJ to happen like, right after their meeting so that Harvey wouldn't be able to stop it. Louis insists that once her side of the story is all over the news, it will blow Tony Gianopolis' takeover attempt and Ava will get to keep her title. Unfortunately, Louis completely underestimated Harvey and Mike's willingness to do literally anything in order to fuck shit up. Which now includes Mike taking on a fake British accent and pretending to be Ava's "life" assistant, and shows up to change the location of the interview to Ava's office. The interviewer is pretty put out, but takes Mike's offer to have "Ava's driver" (Ray, I assume, who is probably gonna dump him in Long Island or something) give him a ride to her office. After the car takes off, Mike glances into the restaurant window and nods as a signal to Harvey, who is inside the restaurant where Ava is waiting.

He sits down across from her at her table, where she claims she had no intention of hiding the interview from him. He knows it's bullshit, though, and says in no uncertain terms that she will not be making a public statement. She doesn't really like being gagged, though, and reveals that Hessington Oil stocks have been plummeting ever since the news of her arrest broke. Harvey reminds her that it doesn't really matter how many times she says she's innocent, the public's not going to buy it, because literally every person charged with a crime, guilty or innocent, swears they didn't do it. She folds for the time being, but demands that Harvey get her out of both messes ASAP, because Tony Gianopolous will not be taking her company from her. TITLE CARD!

Rachel walks into the break room, where Donna is making coffee in the most divine dress I have ever seen her wear. It's royal blue, and has a V-slit down the back, and she looks like a trillion bucks in it. Rachel agrees, and compliments her fabulous taste, but Donna plays coy. "What can I say? It deserved me." I love her so much. She claims it's not a special occasion, but literally everyone else knows who she's trying to impress. Speaking of Stevey-boy, he's just walked in the break room, asking for some sugar and getting into all that nonsense James Bond-style flirting he does, which Donna shuts down pretty quickly. He turns his attentions to Rachel, who enjoys his flattery but politely rebuffs him. When he's all, "My loss," and takes his leave, Rachel immediately is like, "So, do you want to talk about how Stephen is totally into me?"

Donna, who I think is probably a little offended that Rachel isn't understanding the signs, sets her straight: Stephen was flirting with the second-prettiest lady (Rachel) to get to the prettiest lady (Donna) via jealousy and games. Rachel briefly objects to her rank on the prettiest list, but Donna clarifies that that's just what Stephen thinks, not reality, which seems to placate her. Donna then exposits that he asked her out but she rejected him, because she doesn't mix business and pleasure, blah blah blah. Rachel points out that he's only in Manhattan for six weeks, and since he works at the London office, he might as well work at a different company. Donna's still pretending to not be interested, and saunters away to leave Rachel wondering what the hell the point was in that little exercise.

Jessica swans into Harvey's office for an update on Ava's case, but he assures her that they eventually stopped her from doing the WSJ interview. Jessica can't understand why she'd want to talk anyway, and Harvey wastes no time placing the blame squarely on Louis' shoulders. And, of course, Louis chooses that moment to stomp his little feet into Harvey's office, all, "How very dare you!" because of the whole interview thing; Harvey just rolls his eyes and brings up the fact that Louis was the one who did it behind his back, the only reason Harvey knew at all was because he was so sure that he wouldn't have time to stop it. Louis is pissed now, like, "You know what, fuck you!" which leads to them both snipping at each other about whose case is more important and who has the leadership role, but after a few moments, Jessica ends it by taking Harvey's side: murder trial trumps company takeover every time.

Louis does have a legitimate point, though: Hessington Oil is technically his client, not Ava, and since Ava is Harvey's, they need a way to satisfy both clients. Louis is of the belief that they need Ava has to step down for the sake of the company, because as we already know, their stocks prices are taking a nosedive. Harvey argues that Ava is Hessington Oil, and thus asking her to step down is akin to asking her to chop off an extremity, but on this point Jessica is in agreement with Louis, for once; she thinks that it would just be temporary until the murder charge is dealt with, and then they can reinstate her. Plus, it helps them keep Ava AND Hessington Oil as clients. Louis, mollified by her back-up, adds that if Ava won't do it herself, they can get the board to do it for her before she'd even know what hit her. Harvey, of course, refuses to commit to anything other than his plan, so Jessica quickly pulls rank on him and reminds him that she makes the final decisions.

Unfortunately, that move ends up blowing up right in her face. "You and I both know who assigned me to this case, and it wasn't you. It was the man you chose to merge with. The same man who has a 51% share of our law firm. So, unless you're gonna undo that, you're gonna live with this." YIKES, Harvey! That's harsh, especially considering the long con you're running right now to take the firm away from her. Jessica, as you can imagine, is appalled and furious, and Louis uncomfortably witnesses all of it.

In the hallway, Mike is walking with Harvey and asking him how pissed Jessica was during that meeting. "Not as pissed as you're gonna be," he confesses, and informs Mike that he's going to be working with Katrina for the next two days. "What? I'd rather be on latrine duty!" Harvey: "That's not an option." Bahaha. Harvey calls him "Forrest Gump," and reminds Mike that while Jessica eventually caved on his plan, Louis has already proven himself capable and willing to go behind their backs to do what he wants, which is why Mike needs to stick to Katrina and make sure they're not being shady. Mike retorts that if he's Forrest, then Harvey is Bubba, to which Harvey exclaims, "Shrimp bid'ness!" Mike gets serious and leans closer to Harvey to whisper, "If Ava loses the company, will Darby still back you for managing partner?" Harvey admits that he didn't ask, but if Harvey were Darby, he wouldn't. Uh oh.

It's late, and Jessica looks as if she's about to leave for the night when Louis cautiously enters her office. When she asks what he wants, he thanks her for supporting his idea in the meeting with Harvey earlier, but she just shrugs and says he had the better strategy. He's still appreciative, though, and kisses her ass a bit as he talks some smack about Harvey and his tendency to boss her around. She's like, "Whatever, it's done," but Louis is here to be her "Black Swan," who can do all of the devious stuff that she can't authorize without blowback from "Lord Poppycock." Liiiike, say, convincing the board to oust Ava Hessington as CEO of Hessington Oil?

Jessica smiles politely and thanks him for his offer, but says she doesn't want to do anything behind Darby's back. They fight a little bit, because Louis thinks it's because Jessica won't go to bat for him and his ideas when it matters, and Jessica hates the implication that she's afraid of anything. Louis stupidly ends the conversation by referencing their meeting with Harvey earlier, and reiterating that Jessica is pissed off because she used to be in charge before, and now she's not. Yikes, Jessica's getting ripped up today.

Stephen's in the filing room, trying and failing to make copies, and Donna just stands behind him and smirks when the copier gets jammed. She swoops in to help him, and insists it's all about the touch. He swears he's been very gentle with it, but Donna reminds him that "There's a time to be gentle, and a time to be firm;" demonstrating with a cute hip-bump to the copier, which gets it back up and running. He's impressed, and they get into more of the innuendos and riddles; basically, he's only going to be here for a month or two, and he needs help "handling his workload," if you know what I mean.

She is very sympathetic, of course, and understands the need for relief from all the pressure of being Stephen Huntley. When she asks what kind of a boss he is, he smugs, "Demanding...but generous." Oh JFC. . They agree that it's just a casual arrangement, and he sweetens the deal with the tickets to Macbeth (with Daniel Day-Lewis!) from last episode, that she previously rejected. Donna adds that she expects there to be no secretarial work involved, just so we're sure that they've actually been talking about fucking this entire time, and he's like, "Duh!"

Louis greets Katrina when he meets up with her in the hallway, and after he humble-brags a bit about how much he loves how much she kisses his ass, he starts to tell her to work with Mike. Of course, since they're trying to be the new Harvey and Mike, she automatically finishes his sentence; "Work hand-in-glove with Mike Ross on getting rid of Tony Gianopolis, keep an eye on what they're doing while at the same time limiting their understanding of what we're doing." He asks how she knew all that, and why she wants to work with Mike, considering she hates him, but she responds simply that it's her job. After he confirms that she's basically willing to do whatever he wants, he confesses, "If you were less attractive, I would love you." She casually asks him why he's not going over Harvey's head (ie: straight to Jessica) to get Ava out of Hessington Oil, but Louis pulls a Jessica and politely informs her that he's not willing to be shady, and she concedes that she'll find them another way.

Katrina saunters into the conference room, where Mike has scattered all sorts of files and folders across the table. She reaches for one of the folders, but Mike swoops in with another box of files and a bagel and swats the file out of her hand. "Just because I have to let you read the files doesn't mean I have to let you TOUCH the files," he snits, and she mocks him about the sloppy conference table. It's what I like to call an "organized mess," which is basically the way I live my life-it's not neat, or pretty, but I know where everything is and if someone cleans it up, I lose track of everything. This is what Mike's got going on right now, and explains it to her. She doesn't think that his plan to find dirt on Tony Gianopolis is going to work, because he's a pro raider and is too good to leave a paper trail. He points out that her idea to argue that Gianopolis will have a monopoly is dumb too, and I kind of have to agree--have you seen the state of corporate America right now? A monopoly is like the ideal for them, and it's not like they actually enforce those laws anymore.

She starts to talk and he gets one of his "Dawning Realizations Of The Week," but we're not privy to the details just yet. He starts sticking post-its all over the white boards full of other post-its, and Katrina catches on and joins him, which turns into a "The Wire" quoting contest, quipping "Shit," "Shitty-shit," "Sheee-it," etc back and forth. JFC, I need to start a list of stuff to watch to understand Mike and Harvey's references, because this season I'm pretty sure I'm 0 for like, 20. (Okay, I have seen Forrest Gump, and I got the Game of Thrones reference last season, but I think that's it.) They bond over their mutual love of the show, and the ice between them melts a bit. Of course, Rachel is working nearby and notices the beginnings of their newfound buddy-act, and a tiny seed of doubt starts to plant itself into Rachel's brain. Fabulous. Can they not go a week without some relationship drama?

For once, we don't have to pretend that they're in New York when they're actually in Toronto, because Jessica has literally flown from Manhattan to Toronto just to confront Darby and ask him to have Harvey stand down on his plan. Louis' little tantrum the other day must have really rattled her, because she not only brings up how Harvey namedropped Darby to get his way AND has the stones to tell him that he's too close to the case to be impartial, which does nothing to win her favor. Darby isn't playing games anymore, and ends up just pushing the same buttons that Harvey pressed earlier, which is the best way to get Jessica to go absolutely nuts; he's like, "Ava's not going anywhere, so your insubordinate ass needs to do your damn job by doing what I say. Oh, and stop using company resources to fly to a different country solely to boss me around. Lates!" As he leaves, Jessica's face goes from annoyed and frustrated to downright murderous. Eep!

Katrina has returned to Louis' office for her next scheduled ass-kissing session with her new boss, and hands him a file whose contents thrill him very much. When he praises her work, she confesses that it was actually Mike's idea. Louis' mind has trouble wrapping around that concept, because it's the lawyer way to take credit for the work of others to get ahead. She explains that she gave him the credit to help convince him to take Mike when he meets with Gianopolous, because apparently if Mike sees Louis tear down one of the country's biggest and best corporate raiders, he will be in so much awe that he will immediately run to Jessica to commend him on his job well done and then everyone will know that Louis is awesome. You know Louis is 100% on board with this plan, and he agrees....until Harvey storms into his office, says a bunch of really rude things, and then literally orders Louis to do the exact same thing he just agreed to do.

Louis is so not here for that, and I can't really blame him, because I, too, am that asshole who hates being bossed around so much that I'll go against the person's demands out of spite. (It's one of my worse flaws, but I own it, at least?) Harvey pulls the whole, "You only have this case because I gave it to you, and I can sure as hell take it back!" card, but Louis calls his bluff and invites him to call Ava to inform her that he believes the takeover is more important than her murder trial. Harvey has been rendered speechless for possibly the first time in Suits history, and silently leaves in a huff. Louis totally gets off on humiliating someone else for once, and asks Katrina what just happened. Katrina: "He got LITT UP!" It's stuff like this that makes me such a Louis stan, I LOVE IT.

Ava pays an angry visit to Harvey's office to throw the day's WSJ at his face as she informs him about the new article that makes her out to be exactly what they were trying to avoid. Something tells me it was probably written by that journalist who was supposed to interview her, who likely got dropped off in Poughkeepsie or something by Harvey's driver and forced to find his own way home. Harvey reiterates what he's basically been saying all day: she should not/will not speak publicly, because it's only going to hurt her case. Ava is so annoyed that she decides that she wants to speak at her murder trial. Mike and Harvey are SO not down for that, one bit, but after some more bickering, Harvey decides he'll show her what she should expect from Cameron by testifying, in hopes that she'll just back down. Oh, this will totally end well, I can feel it.

Louis is in a very modern and swanky building, in that all-glass, sterile kind of way, waiting to speak to Tony Gianopolous. Of course, there's a sassy assistant/door guarder who won't let him talk to Tony, so Louis puts on his bossy pants and gets to the threats. He hands the assistant some documents that he thinks will gain him entry to Tony's office, which apparently are files of all the many holdings Gianopolous Limited Holdings own. Apparently, it's a conflict of interest because there is a lot of overlap with the holdings that Hessington Oil owns. Tony's no fool, though, so his crony reveals that they've already divested from all of those companies. Louis saw that move coming, so he hands over the new list of companies in which Tony reinvested his money, all of whom Hessington Oil just happened to have recently invested in, as well.

Louis makes the mistake of believing he won, and smirks that Assistant Guy's boss needs to back off or he'll be in trouble with Louis' friend from the FTC. Unfortunately, Tony's friend is the commissioner of the FTC, and has granted him a special exception or something. Louis looks as though he'd just been kicked in the balls, and flacidly stutters that that can't be legal, but unfortunately, it is as long as it's disclosed. The assistant guy is one of those law-hating business guys who hate having limits put on their ability to suck up everyone's money, and sneers that he and GLH's employees went to Wharton, not Harvard, and thus are better in every way. "Oh, by the way, Mr. Gianopolis is in Monaco. Christina will validate you on the way out." After writing about all these different blows against Harvey, Jessica and Louis today, it's not really surprising that they all completely end up losing their shit.

In the conference room, Katrina notes the fact that Mike is cleaning up his organized mess of files, but he seems a little down in the dumps, which she senses. She asks about his meeting with Ava, and Mike updates her on how she wants to testify at her murder trial. When Mike asks after Louis, Katrina replies that he's meeting with Gianopolous, and confesses that she told Louis to take Mike with him to the meeting. Mike's a little surprised at this, and they end up quoting and bonding over The Sopranos, which delights Mike so much that he decides to call a truce, and they shake on it.

Meanwhile, Rachel enters the ladies' room to find Donna, who is leaning up against the sink to switch over to night makeup. She has also changed into a hot, black evening dress for her theater date with Stephen. Rachel is impressed and jealous of her ability to change costumes without even leaving the office, but Donna just shrugs and says she knows a guy who knows her size. Rachel doesn't understand the idiosyncrasies of their her relationship with Stephen, so Donna breaks it down for her: they exist on a higher plane of communication via innuendos and double entendres, but they totally know what they signed up for. Rachel isn't so sure, and clarifies that it sounds like a "hot steamy affair." Donna takes a moment to consider that statement and realizes with a gasp that she actually has NO idea what she just agreed to do. Oh good, I was starting to wonder if I was the only one.

Louis, who is still stinging from his last round with Gianopolous' crony, waltzes into Jessica's office and informs her that he wants off the case, because he can't handle all of the bullshit AND being "handcuffed" via Harvey's demands. Jessica, having just been dressed down by Darby earlier, is in total agreement with Louis, so she tells him that while she won't take him off the case, she WILL take his handcuffs off, so to speak. Louis gets SO excited when he realizes she means he can be all sly and go behind Harvey's back, but of course when he asks, Jessica is like, "I'm not saying anything, we did not talk about this, I don't want to know." Of course, Louis is mostly concerned with whether she's had Harvey do this sort of thing before, which she doesn't dignify with a response. When she leaves, he whips out his Dictaphone and exclaims, "Wednesday, 6:52PM. It happened." OH LOUIS.

Donna exits a cab outside the theater, where Stephen is waiting for her in a very dapper tuxedo. He's knocked out by her beauty, of course, and she jokingly inquires if he's having a heart attack, and they get into more playful, flirty banter, because that's their major thing. She also totally calls his bluff when he plays like he's a huge theater nut like she is; apparently, he's more into rugby, which of course he is. He adds that they're having dinner with Daniel Day-Lewis after the show, which will be around 10:30, but Donna can't help herself, and instructs him to get moving, because they've only got a little over 2 hours for sexy time before dinner. He does not look one bit disappointed at missing the show.

It's "Make Ava Feel Like Shit" time with Harvey and Mike again, so they've set up a pretend deposition, complete with video camera trained on her, to give her the feeling of what she'll have to deal with when being deposed by Cameron. Harvey does his best asshole impression, not like it's hard for him, and straight-up accuses her of bribing the foreign official to kill the protesters. When she hesitates, he pounces on it, and bellows that if she hesitates, they won't trust her. Mike tries to soften Harvey's words by reminding her that her bribery charge isn't in question; when she's asked about it, she needs to stick with the truth, own it, and move on.

Ava is well aware of what they're trying to do, but Harvey claims he only wants to show her how Cameron's going to be in court, because Cameron is going to try to make her nervous, and when it works, he's going to pounce on her. When she stays silent, he straight up tells her she is totally guilty of bribing a foreign official to murder people. "You did it, you know it. You're not convincing anyone." Ava's slightly vindicated, because she knew they thought she was guilty, and steels herself to make her case:

"Very good, finally we get to it. If you check your records, you'd know that the reason we won that bid is because we were the only ones to go to the people. [...] My obstacle? We paid a hundred million dollars more than anyone else on the condition that the money be used to relocate any family who lost anything within fifty miles of that pipeline: job, home, land, livestock, ANYTHING! What happened over there sickens me. I lose sleep over it every night. And as soon as I'm out of this nightmare, I'm going to shut down the entire project; the pipeline, the oil fields, all of it. So I've just about had enough of you two wondering whether I'm guilty of these murders or not. Is that a good enough trial run for you?"

During her speech, Harvey and Mike just look more and more guilty and pissed at themselves, until she finally storms out of the room. As they watch her leave, they both sigh deeply and mutter, "Holy shit! She didn't actually do it." Of course, Louis is totally going to fuck up all of that progress, because as they speak, he's meeting up with one of the Hessington Oil board members to arrange to remove Ava from CEO and keep Pearson Darby on retainer for the takeover. HOT MESS ALERT.

Mike is so stunned by Ava's confession that he continues to sit in the conference room and stare at his laptop sadly. Katrina pops in to ask him how the practice depo went, and Mike admits that while they were planning to show her why she shouldn't testify, she ended up doing the opposite and convincing them to let her speak. Katrina's confused, because there's only one reason why they'd even consider it. Mike's just like, "Yup, I know. She's totally innocent, and we're all assholes." Katrina is skeptical, but he turns the open laptop toward her and urges her to see for herself.

Ava seems to have convinced Katrina, too, because when Louis' car pulls up to the firm after meeting with the board, she's waiting out on the curb to ask what happened. Louis exposits that she'll be out by the next day, and Katrina is like, "Well, okay, that's not completely terrible, so we still have time to stop this madness!" Louis is like, "The fuck?" but Katrina simply informs him that Ava is innocent and presses a flash drive into his hand with the video.

It's late in the evening when Harvey finds Mike in the bullpen to pitches their new plan, which is that Ava address the board before they vote to move her out the next day; he thinks that if her heartfelt plea can convince the two of them, it will definitely go a long way with the board. Plus, Louis wanted this in the first place, so it shouldn't be difficult to convince Louis and Jessica to back it. Oh, Harvey, I wouldn't be so sure about that.

Of course, Louis watched the video and immediately gets that Blair Waldorf "What the fuck did I just do?" look on his face that says he's made a huuuuuuge mistake. Jessica walks in to urge him to go home after a productive day, and Louis immediately confesses that Ava is actually innocent. Jessica's like, "Cool! See ya!" Louis repeats himself, but Jessica doesn't think it matters, because if the board doesn't vote her out, she's just going to lose the takeover vote anyway, so the result is the same. Louis figures at least if the latter happens, it won't be his fault, and starts to panic when he realizes Harvey is going to know it was all him. Jessica reminds him that this is what LOUIS wanted to do, and he was always going to know that he did it, and the only thing that has changed since their talk the previous day is the fact that now he believes she's innocent. She declares their conversation over, and swans out, leaving Louis to work himself into a panic attack over the shit he just caused. SHEE-IT.

It's the next morning, now, and Donna and Stephen rendezvous at the copier for more witty banter and double entendres, and agree that they need to have a repeat performance the following evening. When Donna struts away, she runs into Rachel, who sneaked behind the bookshelf to eavesdrop on her. Rachel's face lights up as she ribs her friend about sleeping with the British Harvey. Donna plays coy until she's asked how the sex was, and Donna deadpans, "Suffice it to say, I was awesome! Oh wait, sorry, you probably wanted to know about him, don't you?" Rachel giggles, and Donna adds that she thinks she met her sexual and verbal match. Rachel inquires what Harvey thinks about her dalliances with his London counterpart, and Donna admits she didn't think of Harvey at all. Rachel's all about honesty, as you're aware, so Donna promises her that she'll tell him as soon as he gets back, and runs away before Rachel can tease her more.

Mike and Harvey are about to get into Harvey's car to go to the board meeting, but Ava has come to them in her own car instead, to inform them that she just got voted out of her own company. Harvey and Mike are completely surprised by this news, which doesn't really help their case at all. She blames Harvey for not letting her speak in the first place to try to clear her name, and they try to explain why her speaking to the board in a closed-door meeting is different from an interview with the Wall Street Journal, but she doesn't give a shit. To add insult to injury, Ava reveals that not only was she fired, but Pearson Darby got put on retainer for Hessington Oil, so now it looks like Harvey sold her out to keep his job. Harvey's face is murderous, and after a second, he immediately realizes who's behind this.

Harvey makes a bee-line for Jessica's office and wastes no time blaming everything on her, and claiming that she's taking her beef with him out on Ava. Jessica denies it, and says they wouldn't have had a problem in the first place if he hadn't name-checked Darby to get his way. Harvey is momentarily surprised, but then is all,  "I take it back, you're not pissed at me, you're pissed at Darby because you're starting to regret agreeing to only having 49% stake in your own firm!" Jessica does not like his tone one bit, and maintains she did what she had to for the sake of the firm, which isn't a lie, but Harvey's not swayed; as he leaves, he spits that she can't handle being number two. He's not really lying either, but people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, y'know?

His fight with Jessica has left him in a pissy mood, so when he gets to his office, he barks an order at Donna to get Darby on the phone. She braces herself to make her Stephen confession, but he cuts her off before she can begin, and complains about the fact that she was gone earlier in the morning. Donna's whole speech is thrown for a loop, and she manages to stutter out that she was doing some work for Stephen. Harvey's not amused, and reminds her pretty rudely about who she works for, and yells at her for just standing there instead of calling Darby. Donna's like, "Oh, fuck this," and runs to call Darby and wisely decides that it's probably not the best time to spring this on him. Good call, girl!

When Mike returns to his cube, Katrina is there waiting for him. She admits that she appreciated working with him on this case, and informs him that she did suggest that Louis not go to the board to drop Ava, but ultimately she could not/would not stop him. Mike asks if that's supposed to make everything better, but she simply just wants him to understand her. Rachel approaches the bullpen just as the two are saying goodnight to each other, and the seed of doubt planted earlier in the episode grows a tiny bit.

After Katrina left, Rachel asks what she wanted, and he tells the truth. She not-so-subtly inquires if he enjoyed working with her, too. He calls her out on her jealousy, which he thinks is cute now that they're actually together, and reminds her that he entrusted her with his deepest, darkest secrets, which means they are in TRU LUV 4EVA, obviously. She starts to get uneasy, because she knows what he's about to say but doesn't want to hear it standing in the bullpen of their place of employment, but Mike cares not. He tells her HE LOVES HER and doesn't want to hide their love anymore, and she agrees and says it back, and they kiss and shmoop and are cute in a slo-mo, spinny way that makes me a little nauseous, TBH. But they are cute, and I like them together. I just want the ladies (Rachel and Donna, specifically) to get storylines that don't involve their male love interests.

Darby decided to fly to Manhattan to yell at Jessica in person some more about her underhanded backstabbing or whatever, and she turns his, "You could have called instead of flying to another country to question my judgment" line back at him. She points out that when they merged, she didn't think he was going to lord his power over her the way that he has, so he retorts that he didn't think SHE would be as out of control as she's been, either. They each start listing off various grievances one has for the other (hiding the fact that Hardman embezzled a ton of $$, sticking Jessica with a case that could lose her tons of $$, etc) and Jessica growls that she is the one in charge in America. "Because I allow it to be that way!" Darby bellows, and Jessica's just like, "Bro, you literally just proved my entire point."

Darby looks like she's giving him a headache, and suggests that maybe he should have been more afraid about her being the uncontrollable wild stallion or whatever, rather than Harvey, who was Darby's main concern. (Although what Jessica doesn't know is that the only reason why Harvey is being so agreeable lately is because he knows that doing what Darby wants means he'll get his name on the door.) Jessica's had about enough of that, though. "As you point out, I had a partner once who made decisions based on his personal shit, and I will not allow that to happen again. And 51-49 or not, I just took 14 million and put it on my side of the ledger, so do me a favor, Edward, and turn off the lights on the way out." OOOH, BURN! Unfortunately for her, though, if Darby didn't have reason to side with Harvey in the super-secret managing partner battle before, he definitely does now, so she kind of just shot herself in the foot.

So, what were your thoughts about this episode? Let me know what you think! :)

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