Episode Title: "High Noon"
Writer: Erica Lipez
Director: Kevin Bray
Previously on "Suits":
After the votes are counted, Daniel Hardman (David Costabile) takes control of the firm. Rachel (Meghan Markle) finds Mike (Patrick J. Adams) in the file room, to her surprise. When she asks him why he's not taking time off to grieve, he angrily tells her about his guilt and that he prefers to bury himself in his work.
Hardman tries to extend an olive branch to Harvey (Gabriel Macht), but he sees through the false gesture. Afterwards, Harvey suggests to Jessica (Gina Torres) that they leave the firm, but she insists they stay and bide their time until the moment is right to strike.
Outside the office, Mike buys pot from a newspaper guy. Donna (Sarah Rafferty) tells Harvey they're being moved to another floor. Harvey immediately confronts Hardman, who tells him he's merely rewarding a loyal underling with an office upgrade. Harvey warns Hardman that he's coming for him.
Hardman tells Louis (Rick Hoffman) they must deal with Harvey, as he's placed a target on both their backs. Louis decides to bury Mike in paperwork and gives Harvey a case of his own. He warns him not to go for Mike for assistance. When Harvey tries to get Mike to help him, he makes a scene in front of the associates, telling Harvey he's being delusional and must accept defeat. Harvey tells Mike to go home.
That night Mike gets high and oversleeps the next day. Rachel shows up and gets him ready for his grandmother's funeral. At the service, Rachel meets Tess, Mike's old girlfriend and they both urge Mike to eulogize his grandmother. Afterwards, Tess helps Mike clean up his grandmother's apartment. They kiss but Tess puts a stop to it, telling Mike she's married. He asks her to leave.
Later, Harvey stops by and the two get high together. They decide to go to the office and play a prank on Louis. Instead, they find him in Harvey's office, claiming he's helping with his move. As the two search the office to see if Louis planted anything, Mike suggests they plant something in Hardman's office to get him ousted. This makes Harvey realize that Hardman planted the memo, as Donna is not known for making those kind of mistakes. After going through the files, they realize that Hardman and Tanner were in on the scheme. They bring their theory to Jessica, but she wants proof.
Louis tells Harvey the firm has issued a mandatory drug test policy, as he's certain Harvey will fail. Harvey refuses to take the test, forcing Louis to call a partners' quorum. Harvey confronts Tanner (Eric Close) at the boxing gym and the two decide to duke it out. Harvey gets the better of Tanner and he agrees to answer one question. He admits that the memo is fabricated.
Mike finds more evidence to support the theory that Hardman and Tanner conspired against the firm and kisses Rachel in a moment of excitement. She tells him it's a bad idea, as he's still dealing with his grandmother. Feeling dejected, he walks off.
At the partners' quorum, Harvey admits to smoking pot but also brings up the CM case. Meanwhile, Mike tries to get the CM head to sign an affidavit saying Hardman urged him to settle and bury the findings about the faulty hoods but he refuses.
Hardman denies all wrong doing, but when Mike shows up with a signed affidavit, the partners, including Louis, vote to keep Harvey and fire Hardman. Afterwards, Mike admits that it was his signature on the affidavit.
Mike invites Tess over and the two have sex. Meanwhile, Jessica sees Hardman out and he warns her about Harvey before leaving. Rachel stops by Mike's after rethinking their kiss, sees Tess and quickly leaves.
It was the showdown at "High Noon" and Daniel Hardman emerged victorious in a surprisingly unclimactic scene right at the top of the episode. The writers could have justifiably dragged out the reveal of who would take control of the firm until the end of the episode. But "Suits" is a show capable of much smarter drama, as we saw in this excellent summer finale.
With Hardman now in control, much of the episode focused on loss – both Harvey and Jessica's loss of control of the firm and Mike's own very personal loss. This episode was also a bit allegorical. Jessica's "pitbull" Harvey was ready to walk on the spot after the vote came down but Jessica's cooler head prevailed, as she told Harvey to sit back and wait for the right moment to strike.
Meanwhile, reeling from his own loss, Mike indulged in old vices and old girlfriends, after Rachel suggested they take it slow. In the end, his rash behavior may have cost him Rachel, as well.
And seeing as it was a finale and all, "High Noon" was not without an eleventh hour surprise. Though we may have seen it coming, having Hardman plant the infamous memo was a novel twist. It also provided redemption for Donna (if she even needed it) and got Hardman booted from the firm. Though not before planting some troubling ideas about Harvey in Jessica's head and making a few idle threats.
And lest we forget Louis Litt, who found himself on the losing team, after all. As much as Harvey and Donna may despise him, we know there's more to Louis than the sniveling, obsequious ass kisser they perceive him to be. That was made clear when he didn't vote in favor of ousting Harvey. Or was it just a last-minute attempt to abandon ship before becoming lost at sea?
We'll have to wait until January to find out. In the meantime, Louis Litt or Louis Lannister as he fancied himself before Hardman, will have some serious debts to repay if he plans to stick around.