Suits: Going 'All In' Is Always A Gamble, Even For Harvey Specter

"Suits" goes all out on "All In": Harvey "plays the man"; Louis gets played by the ballet but dances out of it; and Jessica plays to win against an old law school rival who is now a judge.

In the latest episode of "Suits," the writers presented another installment of what can only be called an excellent interweaving of shorelines. In "All In," fans were confronted with the idea of winning, of leverage, and of what we are all capable of doing when we have the desire not to lose something.

The show begins with Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) dressed in a tux, showing up at Mike Ross' (Patrick J. Adams) apartment and telling him to get dressed -- in a tux. Mike doesn't have one, which lead to the next scene, where Harvey berates Mike for not owning a tux and Mike asking what kind of man keeps a spare tux on hand. The guys are on their way to Atlantic City, where we soon find that Mike is banned (card counting) from the particular casino they are about to enter and Harvey is there not to drink, gamble, and try to forget his personal secretary Donna (Sarah Rafferty) and her years of loyal service but to meet a client…

… who they catch up to just as he's losing $3.5 million in a poker game, payable immediately, or deal with the forfeiture of his company (worth over $30 million), which he used as collateral for his "sure thing" bet. The client, who has some type of undisclosed leverage on Harvey, demands that Harvey get his company back. The client is not only a gambling addict but an alcoholic in denial as well. Harvey intends to use the man's addiction to his advantage.

Meanwhile, Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) checks up on Harvey about his whereabouts, believing he is having difficulty dealing with Donna's departure. She intends to talk to the judge assigned to Harvey's case to circumvent a problem. However, Jessica quickly discovers that the judge is more of a problem. She's a grudge-holder that is completely out for revenge against Jessica for having gotten her drunk in college and setting her up for naked pictures.

While all that drama is taking place, Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) has decided to take in a ballet performance. He spies Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) awaiting the show, then finds out she's also a ballet aficionado. He offers her a better seat (he always purchases a seat to the right to cut down on intra-performance chatter). After the show, in an effort to confront a man he thinks is impugning the ballet, Louis meets the director and gives him his business card. The director is need of an ally against the theatre and its paltry conditions.

Harvey's plan to use his client's drinking as an out of the contract, which was written on the back of a cocktail napkin, and to get the case dismissed backfires when his adversary points out that he made him an offer afterward. Although Harvey argues to the judge that that was privileged settlement talk, the judge says he'll see them in court. In court, the judge places the company in the hands of the napkin holder and Harvey decided that the case is over. However, Mike tells him he should use an all-or-nothing stance.

Louis finds a welcome and enthusiastic helper with his new case against the ballet theatre in Rachel. He goes all in to help the ballet, even finding that the old theatre still has exposed lead paint, a health hazard, on the premises. The theatre's lawyer then countersues for eviction of the ballet company, stating that the ballet had not kept up its payments, crushing Louis' case (because the ballet director had sent Louis bogus copies of the payments, part of the foundation of Louis' position). Thinking he's just lost everything and got the ballet company booted as well, Rachel informs him that his allegiance to the ballet director has blinded him to saving what is important -- the ballet.

Jessica attends a fundraiser for her old classmate, the judge. She informs the judge that she's made a donation to her and when the judge flatly tells Jessica she will not recuse herself from the case (because she'll just return the donation), Jessica lets her know that no matter what she does, that donation will either taint the case or cause problems with any political ambitions the judge might harbor.

Mike steps in to Rachel's office to chat and notices Louis' dictaphone on her desk. She has it on loan to help with the ballet theatre case. Mike snatches it up and begins mocking some of Louis' odd memos to self. Rachel laughingly begs him to stop and he relinquishes, insisting on one more. And if fans didn't know it was coming, they certainly haven't been paying attention, because the very next playback was the recording of Harvey and Mike conversing on why they didn't trust Louis and why they were hiding the Coastal Motors case from both Louis and Daniel Hardman (David Costabile).

And just when you thought you were going to actually like Louis just a little...

Louis and Rachel meet the ballet director to tell him the new game plan. He can stay but at a substantially reduced station. Louis has cut a deal with the theatre to keep the ballet, make the necessary repairs, and get the theatre the money owed them -- by ridding the ballet company of its director's inflated salary. Needless to say, the director was not too thrilled with the new terms.

Jessica meets again with her old classmate, who tells her she will recuse herself but only on one condition: Jessica has to confess to her that she set her up, got her drunk, had those pictures taken in order to get a job she coveted, one that only she and Jessica were qualified to hold. Jessica barely paused, her expression grew stern, and she admitted it all, then told the judge, who looked shocked, that she'd do it all over again if she had to…

Harvey calls the napkin holder and his counsel back into Pearson Hardman and directs his attention to a lawsuit, one of the many against his client's company. He explained that the lawsuit would drain the company while his client and the napkin holder fought over ownership. Harvey had gotten power of attorney and told them that he could cut them a deal but he'd rather see the company go broke than see his adversary get it. Harvey then said they had three choices: Take the original $3.5 million deal, leave things as is and watch the company slowly go broke, or play him in a winner-take-all poker game. He added that he wasn't paying them the $3.5 million.

So the meeting adjourns to the firm's basement/file room. Before getting there, though, Mike informs Harvey about Louis' recording and plays it for him. He adds that when Harvey is mad he's more focused.

After a couple hands, Harvey tells the napkin holder he doesn't want to play forever and says he's all in. His opposite tells him that he's not crazy enough to call a man who obviously has a better hand. Harvey was bluffing, showed him his worthless cards and rakes in the pot, letting the guy know that that is how he knew he was going to beat him.

Later, while telling Jessica about winning it all inside of thirty minutes, Jessica tells Harvey he's out of control, that his losing Donna has got him making reckless choices. (This allows fans to know that Jessica, who knows a great deal about Harvey and his life, knows about Donna and Harvey's past relationship.) She is assuming from his trip to Atlantic City and his gambling to get back his client's company are signs of some grieving catharsis, reading only the superficial signals she's been given. Harvey admits that losing Donna is difficult but insists that Jessica is wrong, that his judgment is not impaired, nor is he losing control. She allows that he could be correct.

Then Harvey backs Louis into a corner and tells him that in the coming power struggle between Daniel Hardman and Jessica Pearson, he shouldn't choose Hardman. He then informs the cowering Louis that he now owes him.

Everybody is looking for some leverage…

But what will this do to Louis and Rachel's budding friendship? She was beginning to like him but she heard the recording as well, so…? And how about Mike and Rachel? Will Mike ever just give it up for love and tell her his secret? What about Harvey's fraud case with the Randalls over that Coastal Motors lawsuit? Will Jessica's old classmate recuse herself like she said she would? If she does, will her relationship with Jessica become a continuing storyline? And what exactly is Jessica's true relationship with Harvey? We know she likes him, tolerates him, put him through law school, but how far will her loyalty take her in protecting and fighting for him? And what about Donna? Is she coming back? Is Harvey experiencing some kind of separation anxiety from her departure? We know she has to testify about the memo if the fraud case gets to court, so will it? Or will she somehow come back to work for Harvey? Or perhaps become a love interest again?

"Suits" airs on USA network on Thursday nights at 10:00 p.m. EST.

(photo credit: Rach, Creative Commons)