The beauty of Suits is that it manages to make uninteresting scenarios gloriously interesting by placing characters in corporate situations that otherwise would be dull if there was zero drama attached. Suits season 8 episode 2, “Pecking Order”, reminded me of the glory days, where it was less about family and more about where you rank within an organisation. The entire Mike story predicated itself on togetherness but since the start of season 8, it feels like it has reset, with everyone ready to draw blood for that ultimate corporate power. The one occurrence remains; these characters pull off wearing suits admirably. I would be sweating profusely in this weather.
Suits season 8 episode 2 answered what it will be like post-Mike. Unfortunately, “Pecking Order” fails to remove itself from the glaring omission of what was an integral character, at least in terms of what he meant emotionally. A close acquaintance of Mike randomly appears in their office. It really irks me how anyone can walk into this firm on a high floor of an executive building with barely any resistance or questioning. Anyway, this “friend of Mike” needs help, so naturally, Harvey, with his love for his former brother from another mother, promises to help.
This is where Robert Zane comes into it – the new leader of the firm. He is one of the main characters now and I was surprisingly impressed by how much he fits in by being part of the main roster. Like Jessica had a right-hand man, so does Robert in the form of Samantha. Now, I thought after episode 1 that she was going to be a small cameo, but as it turns out, she will essentially be the new Mike. She is not as principled as Mike but nor is she a fraud. As an element of the story, I got a sniff that she will be the character Harvey goes to when a sticky situation needs to be resolved.
Of course, nothing is ever simple between two dominant characters because Suits season 8 episode 2 shows Harvey and Samantha battling each other to solve the problem. That’s where “Pecking Order” comes into place as both characters feel they have to resolve the issue quickly in order to be the star of the show. In the end, all is well, with Robert Zane exerting the pressure for both characters to understand each other’s strengths. The ‘Mike replacement’ scenario worked and Suits has managed to deal with the change effectively. Robert Zane also makes a promising replacement for Jessica.
The other characters felt more like a sideshow than a great drive in the story but episode 2 still gives them plenty to do, keeping it a rather entertaining addition to season 8. Louis Litt is still playing out his unnatural sexual prowess on Sheila. For some reason, his partner wants him desperately to be managing partner and almost satirically forces Louis to lie to her that he got that role of the firm. To say these scenes were weird is an understatement; it felt like a different show. Louis dealing with his masculinity issues provided some comedic therapy sessions but also a blockbuster ending when he shouted at Harvey and Robert Zane louder than a fog horn to assert dominance. He then returns home to celebrate by having sex with Sheila, who now wants a baby; this scenario provides an other-worldly story that I struggle to comprehend sometimes.
Donna is still Donna, with Suits unfortunately not providing the key character with any main objectives. I felt this was a similar outcome to Rachel Zane in season 7 but obviously that was due to personal reasons for the actress more than a story issue. I hope Donna does get important soon rather than just providing other characters wisdom. Donna does have some brief moments with Samantha, with an obvious battle over how to deal with Harvey, but this fight did not really live long, as Donna finds out Samantha is actually alright.
As for Alex, well, he is the office furniture that never gets used at this stage, but he is desperately trying to win Robert Zane’s attention by trying to land a big client and covertly crashing pretentious parties to achieve his mission – yes, that felt a little too non-Suits.
Overall, Suits season 8 episode 2, “Pecking Order”, offered more than just a strategy to deal with a change of direction. It brought back that compelling drama and made Harvey interesting again, placing himself as the main story. Suits is going back to its strengths.