In the second episode of Suits’ ninth season, the firm gets a massive makeover when one of the Bar’s special masters, Faye Richardson (Denise Crosby), sets up office. Forced to watch their every move, the partners are tense and afraid to make a misstep.
The episode opens with a hilarious scene between Donna (Sarah Rafferty), Harvey (Gabriel Macht), and Louis (Rick Hoffman); the new couple, unaware of Richardson’s arrival the night before, breaks the news of their relationship to the firm’s managing partner while he is in a “mankini.” There, the same clueless banter between Louis and the two is rehashed—just like in the season’s premiere. The only difference is that, this time, Louis understands that they’re not just together in proximity, but together in a relationship.
Unfortunately, the momentous occasion is broken up by Louis’ news that there’s a special master, a Bar-appointed “watchdog,” in their office. As the show cuts to the workplace, audiences are brought to the familiar meeting room where the partners are discussing what they’ll do about Special Master Richardson. In the middle of their conversation, Faye enters the room, asserting her dominance on the group. She lays down the law, tells the partners what she expects from them at the firm, and mentions that her first order of business is taking Robert Zane’s (Wendell Pierce) name off the wall. Of course, Zane’s prodigy, Samantha (Katherine Heigl) is infuriated with that idea, and threatens to leave the firm. However, thanks to Harvey’s promise—which he says out of Faye’s earshot—that he’ll put Zane’s name back up after the special master leaves, Samantha sticks around.
After the meeting with Richardson, everyone is antsy, but especially Samantha. Having taken up a case that has many, as Richardson calls it, “red flags,” she is not allowed to use any firm resources. However, Samantha doesn’t back down from the case because it is important to her; her client is an old friend (Demore Barnes) from the military who has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but is afraid to admit it out of fear of being seen as unemployable. Like any other Suits case, it ends with a victory; despite that, it’s different this time around for Samantha. Even though she was backed against a wall, she, for the most part, ethically closes the case. Thanks to and unexpected relationship between Katrina and Sam, she is able to stay in the light instead of working in the dark.
The episode also features Thomas Kessler (Sasha Roiz), with Faye attempting to get a departure interview. Donna manages to get him out of it by bringing up her relationship with Thomas, saying that bringing him back would cause too much pain for both of them. There’s also a bowling scene with Alex (Dulé Hill) and Louis, a strange attempt by Louis to learn about Harvey’s sex skills from Donna, and an adorable banter session between Donna and Harvey.
Overall, the episode was very exciting and is a definite blast from the past, just like the first episode of this season. There’s a large emphasis on comedy, which made it very lighthearted compared to the past six seasons. In all honesty, the humor in this episode made it a step up from the previous one. If each new episode keeps improving, then I am optimistic for the rest of the season. Ultimately, I loved all the laughs in this episode, but I paid the most attention to Samantha’s story line because she addressed mental health—a first in Suits history. Samantha tells her friend that thousands of other people suffer from PTSD, so it’s not abnormal to be feeling this way, but most importantly, the only way to get help is by first admitting that you need help. And although it was a comment meant for her friend, a part of me feels like it was a reference to both the Zane Specter Litt Wheeler Williams firm and a call to action for the audience. Regardless, at the end of the day, it’s an important message for us all.