The absence of our favorite sassy, red-headed assistant was noticeably felt in this episode. It’s becoming apparent how much of an anchoring presence Donna was in the life of Harvey Spectre as we see him make incredible gambles (literally) and become increasingly fixated on the idea of winning at all costs. Though Donna’s absence is disheartening to those of us who loved her, we do get to Jessica being the ultimate HBIC. This episode shows that women can be just as ambitious and ruthless as men.
The phone is ringing at Donna’s empty desk and Harvey looks at it like it’s personally insulted him before picking up the receiver and promptly hanging up. The next scene finds him at Mike’s apartment decked out in a tux and insulting the slumminess of Mike’s digs (actually, by NYC standards, it’s a decent place). Harvey tells Mike to get his tux, they have a situation. Problem: Mike doesn’t have a tux. Solution: Harvey always carries a spare and the kind of situation that requires a tux is in Atlantic City.
Mike: I don’t have a tux… I’m not Bruce Wayne.
Harvey: Don’t I know it.
Among Louis Litt’s varied interests is a love of ballet where he runs into Rachel, another lover of the ballet. Rachel was supposed to attend with Donna, but she canceled at the last minute and isn’t returning Rachel’s calls. Louis is having the same problem, confirming he has something of a heart. Louis is there alone, coming to the ballet with someone is too distracting, which Rachel completely understands. As the lights flicker, Louis invites Rachel to sit with him (he always buys the seat to the right).
Harvey and Mike are in the town car heading to Atlantic City,while Mike is trying to get his tie right and fails miserably. He broaches the subject of Donna once and is shut down. As they exit the car at a high class casino (Mike’s tie is now perfectly straight. How come we didn’t get the scene of Harvey fixing it for him?), Mike tells Harvey he was banned from the casino for being high and counting cards (his brain just does it). It really doesn’t matter since 1) Mike is with Harvey and 2) he’s in a tux, not jeans and a t-shirt. The tuxes get them complimentary champagne as Harvey asks the hostess to let their client, Keith Hoyt, who heads a clean energy firm, know that he’s arrived. Harvey isn’t pleased that Hoyt is in the poker room because it’s not a good place for an alcoholic gambling addict. As they arrive in the room, they find Hoyt with $3 million in chips. It looks like he’s doing well until he decides to go all in. He assures Harvey he’s got the winning hand and at first, it looks like he does, a full house over a straight until the dealer turns the river for the one card that makes him lose everything. Hoyt’s begging a man whose been watching to give him 48 hours, but the man responds that a deal’s a deal. Apparently Hoyt’s lost more than $3 million; he’s gambled away his company.
Harvey’s rightly pissed that Hoyt put his company up for collateral on a cocktail napkin in a casino. Harvey should walk out the door, but Hoyt points out that he won’t because Harvey owes him. Hoyt had the mystery man back his bet for the 3 million and if he won, the guy got his money back plus half a million more, but Hoyt lost and lost his company. They need to get a look at that napkin.
Louis and Rachel exit the ballet on a high until Louis overhears someone ripping the performance. He confronts the man in a fit of anger, only to find out it’s the director of the ballet, Sergei Vascov. Sergei was not satisfied with the performance given that two of his dancers were injured due to a poor rehearsal space. Louis offers to take the ballet on as his client to fight for better conditions and drafts Rachel to assist him on the case.
Harvey finds the man Hoyt lost his company to, Tommy, at a restaurant and tells him the contract on the napkin won’t hold up in court. On the contrary, the napkin can be a legitimate contract if it has three things: 1) offer, 2) acceptance, and 3) consideration (both parties get something). Unfortunately, the napkin meets all three requirements. All’s not lost; they have to prove competence and Hoyt was drunk, though Tommy points out that they have no way to prove it after the fact. Luckily, everyone in this town owes Harvey and he gets the casino floor manager to get him the security tapes from the table.
After Harold proves hopelessly inept to deal with the ballet case, Louis hands all the duties off to Rachel, who is “only” a paralegal, but knows more about ballet and the law than Harold. Louis hands her his dictaphone with a to-do list and Rachel looks happy with her newfound responsibilities.
The judge presiding over the fraud case denied a motion that should have gone through, and when Jessica visits the judge, she discovers that it’s an old nemesis from law school (name changed due to marriage). Apparently Jessica played a cruel joke on her back in the day; though the judge, Ella Follman, assures her that the past won’t affect her rulings.
Back at the firm, Mike wonders why when everyone owes Harvey a favor, he owes Hoyt one, but before he can get much further with the question, the pair is greeted by Cameron, Harvey’s new assistant hired by Jessica. The guy’s been busy, taking messages, and rearranging the filing and calendar system; Donna’s system. The look on Harvey’s face could curdle cream and Mike suggests Cameron take an early lunch.
Harold is wondering what is so special about ballet, mocking the art form when Louis appears behind him. After pointing out several beautiful and famous actresses owe their success to ballet, Louis dismisses him and tells Rachel to have some files for him first thing in the morning.
Harvey comes to Jessica’s office to find out what happened with Judge Follman. Jessica admits that the prank she pulled was pretty bad (waking up naked in front of the con law class isn’t easily forgivable, though Harvey seems to forgive Jessica for pulling a similar prank on Louis and blaming it on him). This isn’t good for their case and Jessica is going to find a way get Judge Follman to recuse herself from the case.
Mike’s spent the night watching security footage and counting the number of drinks Hoyt had before signing the napkin (16 in all) and presents the evidence in front of a judge in an effort to nullify the contract. After showing the security footage and telling the judge Hoyt has agreed to rehab, Tommy’s lawyer counters that Hoyt was sober enough to know he had a good hand, call Harvey for help and place the bet in the first place. Add to that the fact that Harvey made Tommy an offer and the judge denies dismissal and the case is going to be sent to court. Getting back to the office, Mike points out Tommy is much like Harvey, which pisses him off (and focuses him). Harvey wants Mike to find out everything on Tommy and bring him in for a deposition as they fight to keep control of the company in Hoyt’s hands.
Jessica is at a swanky art gala, which is doubling as a fundraiser for Judge Follman’s reelection campaign. Jessica, looking glamourous compared to the more buttoned-up Follman, informs the judge that the firm has made a sizable contribution to her campaign. Follman knows that Jessica is trying to get her to recuse herself and says she’ll simply give back the donation, but even if she does, it still looks suspicious. The prank was admittedly harsh, but they were young; now Jessica means business and she’ll protect her firm (and Harvey) by any means.
Louis and Rachel meet with the manager of the building where the ballet rehearses; confronting him with records of lead paint being used in the building. The manager reveals that the company stopped paying into the fund for maintenance and repairs months ago. The records Sergei showed Louis says it’s in the account, but the manager begs to differ. So now, he’s going to sue the company for eviction. Louis feels betrayed by his hero.
During the deposition, Mike and Harvey point out that Tommy has no experience running an energy company. Does he know that the company is being sued? If this drags out, the company must remain viable during the trial; how can that happen if the new owner knows nothing? Harvey says this in front of the judge, but Tommy counters that he knew nothing about the other companies he’s turned around, but he hires experts to advise him. Tommy uses Harvey’s own words against him and the judge declares that Tommy has control of the company during the trial. Outside the courthouse, Harvey admits they’re going to lose the case; the guy simply has a better hand. Mike suggests they play a new hand.
Louis is pissed that Sergei is putting the maintenance money into his own account and he pulled a fast one on Louis. Rachel is there to give him a pep talk (I enjoy these two together). They confront Sergei and Louis promptly fires him after rearranging the company’s accounts to renovate the rehearsal space.
Follman calls Jessica to her chambers and she has a deal. Follman agrees to recuse herself, on one condition; that Jessica admit she played that prank, simply to get the job they both wanted. Jessica finally admits that that is what happened and she doesn’t regret it, giving further proof that Jessica is the most ruthless character on the show.
I wanted that job. I know what I did. I’m not sorry I did it. And I’d do it again.
Mike finds Rachel in her office, contemplating that fact that she likes Louis. Before she can think much further about it, Mike spots Louis’ dictaphone and begins playing the recordings. They laugh at what they hear until they come to the conversation between Mike and Harvey he secretly recorded. Mike realizes it’s how Daniel found out about the fraud charges and why he turned on Mike.
Mike and Harvey meet once again with Tommy and Harvey decides to play a new hand, the allegations by the homeowner’s association, and they now have an expert backing them up – Keith Hoyt, whose testimony would effectively kill the company Tommy now owns. Hoyt would never kill his own company, but Harvey would and he now holds power of attorney. There is one way Tommy can get out of this; he and Harvey will play poker for control of the company. Mike wants Harvey to let him play since he’s an expert card counter, but Harvey knows how to read people better than Mike. He ends up reading Tommy like a book and wins using his trademark swagger and intimidation and going all in when he had nothing.
Tommy: This isn’t Sunday afternoon bridge with your grandmother.
Harvey recounts these events to Jessica, thinking she’d be pleased. She’s not. He almost lost everything because of his insatiable desire to always win. He’s becoming increasingly unmoored and, as seen earlier, Jessica is the person you least want to piss off. After reassuring Jessica that he’s focused, Harvey confronts Louis (who’s practicing ballet in his office) about the recording, getting in the man’s space towering over him as Louis cowers. One day, Harvey tells him, he is going to need something and Louis is going to deliver. With that, Harvey leaves and there’s one more person in the city who owes him a favor.