'Suits' Season 2 finale recap: The legal battles end, but the 'War' is just beginning

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After a year of catastrophe and intrigue, where is a show like "Suits" to go? The Season 2 finale, "War," has the answer.

And it is a war. Unfortunately, these lawyers may have entered into a war for which there can be no true victor. Everyone fights, and everyone loses something. Friendships, trust, dreams and wagers are all lost over the course of a single episode. The few small victories of "War" may not be worth the price.

However, all of this loss means one thing for us viewers -- this is one incredible season finale for "Suits"!


Ain't no party like a lawyer party!

When most people go to parties, they drink, socialize and have fun. Lawyers do drink at their parties. But the rest of it? Not so much -- they're too busy betting their careers and suing each other for various things.

What does happen at the party?

  • Harvey (Gabriel Macht) wagers against Edward, the Brit who wants to merge firms with Pearson Hardman , on the future of that deal.
  • Jessica (Gina Torres) calls out Harvey on the bet. She really isn't terribly happy with Harvey these days. In fact, one might say that Jessica wants to put Harvey in his subordinate place. If Harvey loses the bet, he's stuck at the firm with no name partnership in his immediate future.
  • Mike (Patrick J. Adams) and Rachel (Meghan Markle) flirt briefly before Harvey interrupts.
  • Louis (Rick Hoffman) gets into a battle of words and mud with a British lawyer named Nigel. Nigel is basically Louis with a snotty accent.


The day after

The fallout from this party is worse than any hangover.

Scottie ( Abigail Spencer) ambushes Harvey on the road. They're both wounded -- and therefore vicious -- because of this merger. It's kind of like watching a pair of foxes injured during a hunt, a fitting comparison since that's how Edward thinks of Harvey. The Brit pities Harvey so much that he warns of freezing clients' assets in the wagered lawsuit.

Of course, this isn't as much pity as it is a nasty legal tactic that allows Edward to do pretty much whatever he wants. Harvey isn't doing so well here. He should have seen this coming of course -- Edward explains his dastardly move while serving tea. Backstabbing at this law firm is always accompanied by a tea service, isn't it?

Elsewhere in the firm, things aren't much better. Nigel the Brit-Louis dares to sully Donna ( Sarah Rafferty) with his "lovely" lips, thereby inciting the ire of actual Louis. A confrontation in the bathroom doesn't help. No matter how much Louis knows about efficiency, Nigel knows more (how exactly do pets and maternal relationships apply anyway?).

And then there are Rachel and Mike. Rachel finally admits to Mike that she didn't get into Harvard -- and she blames Louis. This is totally going to be a mess later. Also, there's a small issue of Rachel wanting to know Mike's "getting into Harvard" story. Since he doesn't have one, this is just awkward.

Later, she wants Mike to sign a letter officially complaining to Harvard about Sheila keeping her out because of the Louis relationship. You know, because Mike is a Harvard grad... He immediately takes the letter to Louis, who fesses up. Not that any of this helps.


What do you give up to get what you want?

War really is the tragedy of this episode. After all, the battles only end when the losses are too great to continue. This war is no exception. Everyone loses something in the quest to end up the victor.

There are, however, a few moments of touching poignancy, even in the midst of battle. The moment between Harvey and Louis, for example, when both men essentially admit their fears and insecurity, is a fascinating look at enemies who will back each other against a common foe -- to the bitter end if necessary.

It's too bad that Louis' help means the subtle dismantling of Harvey's moral code. The two men plan to use privileged information to sabotage the merger. And Harvey knows exactly what he's doing. It's just that he does care more about winning than morals. His enemies (remember Travis Tanner?) may have been right about that.

Too bad it doesn't help, and too bad Jessica is too smart to fall for such ploys. But even Jessica is starting to lose a little bit of herself in all of this. The managing partner doesn't just want to survive -- she wants to win. Jessica wants to raise herself up above anyone, anyone at all, who might hurt her.

If all of this destroys Harvey, then so be it. Jessica needs to beat him down anyway.


All you need is love. And Donna.

Throughout all of this, we have the tragic figure of Scottie roaming the legal halls. She started this merger ball rolling, but everyone else seems to be fighting over it far more than the once-fierce lawyer.

It takes Donna to figure out what's going on, but then it becomes crystal clear. Scottie is in love with Harvey ( bad idea!!!) and was as motivated by a desperate need for attention as anything.

Now here's the odd part: Donna may take advantage of this desperation. She tells Scottie to throw away her ambition in order to win Harvey's love. Is this good advice? Or is it sabotage on the part of Donna?

"Suits" doesn't give us that answer, but Scottie does follow Donna's suggestions and turns over files that could kill the merger. And Harvey soon finds out why. Normally, this affection would be enough to scare off Harvey, but there is nothing "normal" about the man at this point. He orders Mike to move forward with the legal filing that will end it all.


Louis out-Louises Nigel

We now briefly return to the other issue involved with the law firms' merger. Louis and Nigel make each other redundant, placing the men at odds. But love of the theater and stories of childhood bullying can bridge any gap.

That gap is, in fact, filled by an explanation for Louis Litt. He was a bullied child. But then, one day, he learned how to be mean. The bullying ended, but friendship was never an option. Louis does seem to take a chance on friendship now though. He and Nigel agree to cover for each other with their efficiency lists. Both men can be safe.

Except Louis is still that bullied boy with limited defenses. He singles out Nigel as redundant while his own position remains secure. At least Louis feels bad enough about this to go tell Rachel the truth about Harvard.


The battles end, but the war simmers on

Harvey and Mike never get to pull off their merger-ending coup. And the reason is Jessica. She wants this merger. She wants it badly enough that she will risk her own career to turn in Mike if he follows through with one key filing.

Mike caves.

We return to that ultimate battlefield -- the firm's bathroom -- when Harvey finds out. Mike knew nothing of Harvey's stakes in this merger and has worried mainly about the way his mentor has given up on all ethics in order to win.

That's when Jessica walks in. Because this isn't about Mike. This is about Harvey and Jessica. We once thought they were friends, maybe even occasional lovers. We thought that they supported each other no matter what.

We were wrong.

With a few cutting words and an expression of frightening power, Jessica makes one thing clear: She is in charge, and Harvey will learn that.

Does he learn? Harvey definitely learns something about Jessica's nature and their relationship, but it's not likely he will ever learn deference (even to Jessica). The man wanders out into the bustling law office looking lost and close to tears. He even goes to Scottie when he sees her leaving.

Not that it matters -- Scottie has been fired for leaking information to Harvey.


The endings that will begin again

It's the end.

Harvey has lost. He has to concede to Edward, but at least Harvey Specter pulls off one last coup in his defeat -- he gets Edward to reinstate Scottie as a partner.

But will she work in London or New York?

Meanwhile, Mike has banished himself to the file room, hoping to hide from the loss of everyone and everything. It doesn't work. Rachel finds him and demands an explanation for his behavior about her Harvard letter.

At first there are lies. But then Mike concedes the battle he never wanted to fight in the first place: He tells Rachel he never went to Harvard.

She slaps him. Twice. But she can't leave, not when both Mike and Rachel are beyond desperation. Instead, there is a kiss. The kiss is followed by violent passion as desire and anger turn into sex that nearly destroys the file room -- just another casualty of this war.


As the smoke clears from this TV battlefield, most of the soldiers remain standing. All have lost something. We won't know for awhile if any of them have gained anything. For now, we have only a list of casualties and a long wait until the battles resume in "Suits" Season 3.

Photo/Video credit: USA
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